Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Avalanche Etiquette

Until yesterday, the best quote I ever saw on a museum wall was at the Hershey Museum in Hershey Pennsylvania, at the corner of Chocolate Street and Cocoa Avenue, where John Hershey was quoted in 1920 as saying, "Man does not live by bread alone." But then I saw the avalanche video at the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Training Park, which had spectacular footage of an avalanche coming down a gorge. It ended with a warning about how dangers and deadly avalanches are, and warned: "Avalanches are very dangerous. Anything can trigger them without warning. Always have a buddy with you." And I am NOT kidding.

Bluetooth and GPS in New Cars

There is absolutely no reason to pay $1,500 to $3,000 for a built-in GPS system in your new car. A $150 Garmin will give you way more functionality and flexibility. A $350 Garmin will do the same plus give you bluetooth capability with your phone. That said, any new car, and most old cars, can be retrofitted by the dealer with bluetooth capability (i.e., so your cellphone comes through the radio) for $350 or less. They won't tell you unless you ask.

Korean Cars

If you're looking to buy a new car, do not eschew Korean cars. They might not be the screaming bargains they once were, but the Hyundai is as stylish as they come and very comfortable and it has models that compete from Civics to Lexuses, and compete well. Likewise, the Kia, not quite as posh as the Hyundai (e.g., an outside temperature gauge is not standard), is cleanly designed and does a good job of copying the Japanese cars in instrumentation layout. Each also has various hybrid models that do not sacrifice styling.

Customizing the System Tray

If you have been annoyed by the clutter of icons that always seems to be in the Windows notification area (system tray), there is relief in Windows 7. Microsoft added a way to remove some system icons or to hide icons that are not in regular use. If you’d like to tidy up your notification area, here is the procedure:
Customize notification area
  1. In the notification area of the taskbar, find the small upward-pointing triangle and click it. Alternatively use this two-step keyboard shortcut: Windows key+B, Enter
  2. A small window (shown on the right) will open. Click “Customize”.
  3. A dialog box with a list of notification area entries will open. An example is shown in the figure below.
  4. Each entry has a drop-down menu on its right where you can select from three choices:  “Show icon and notifications” or “Hide icon and notifications” or “Only show notifications”.
  5. After making your selections, click “OK”.
For those who don’t mind a little typing, there is an alternate route that leads directly to step 3 above. Type “notification” (without quotes) in the Start search bar and click “Notification area icons” in the list that appears. This will open the dialog box below and you can proceed to step 4 above.
Configure notification area
If you want to be entirely rid of some of the system icons, click “Turn system icons on or off” in the dialog box. The new dialog shown below will open. Make your selection of “on” or “off” and click “OK”.
If you make changes and then wish you hadn’t, you can click “Restore default icon behaviors” and then click “OK”.
Turn system icons on or off

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Better Way to Eat Cheese and Crackers

When eating cheese and crackers, many, and perhaps most, people put the cheese on top and the cracker on the bottom. The problem with this method is that, if the cracker crumbles, the crumbs will fall into your lap or onto the floor. If you put the cracker on top of the cheese, this problem will be eliminated or at least greatly reduced because the cracker crumbs will tend to stay on top of the cheese.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Taking Notes on Your iPad

Here is a good article setting out 5 apps for taking notes on an iPad:


Save Time With These Extensions

FastestChrome (for Chrome) and FastestFox (for Firefox) will automatically load the next web page so you don't have to keep clicking on the next page number to bring it up. I promise you will take to this convenience like a pigeon takes to breadcrumbs.

The Click-free Browsing extension for Chrome puts your clicking finger on ice. The program places six arrow icons along the right edge of the browser window. Hover your mouse over them to page up, page down, go to the top or bottom of the page, go back, or go forward. This doesn't sound like a big deal, but once you try it, you'll never go back  to mouse clicking.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Chrome for Apple Products

Chrome is now available for Macs, iPhones and iPads. I don't own any Apple products, so I haven't been able to put it through the rigorous testing I like to do before posting. I can say from personal experience that Chrome is a fabulous, exceedingly fast, easy-to-use browser. It is the browser I use on my computer, Nexus 7, and Samsung Galaxy S3.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Safer and Faster Web Browsing

Recently both Firefox and Chrome have added a security feature called “Click-to-play”. When enabled, it prevents certain plug-ins like Adobe Flash, Java, and Microsoft Silverlight from automatically running as you browse websites. As the name suggests, you click a specified blank placeholder on the webpage if you want the plug-in to play. Add-ons like NoScript already provide this option but the latest versions of Chrome and Firefox now have this security measure built in.
In addition to providing greater security, blocking Flash and other plug-ins makes browsing faster. However, not everybody likes to have to click something every time they want a function like Flash. So Click-to-play is not enabled by default in either Firefox or Chrome.
How to enable Click-to-play in Chrome
  1. Enter “chrome://chrome/settings/content” in the Chrome address bar (without quotes)
  2. Scroll down the configuration page that opens to the Plug-ins section (shown in the figure)
  3. Click the button “Click to play”
Chrome plug-in configuration
How to enable Click-to-play in Firefox 14
  1. Enter “about:config” in the Firefox address bar (without quotes)
  2. Agree to be careful
  3. Scroll to the plug-ins section (shown in the figure below)
  4. Double-click the entry “ plugins.click_to_play” so that the Boolean value reads “true”

Speeding Up Your Downloads

Download Accelerator Plus will send your computer into high gear for downloading stuff. With it, you'll notice a great increase in your download speeds. This program offers a bunch of cool features, too. You download videos from YouTube, see the size of a file before you download it and convert video files. No matter what you're downloading, Download Accelerator Plus will make that progress bar fill much faster.

Cost: Free

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Choosing Your Own New Tab Page

Some of the leading web browsers have changed the way they operate recently.  They still let you specify a home page, which will open up when you start the browser.  But when you open a new tab, you get the browser's own choice of page rather than your specified home page.
The latest edition of Google Chrome, for example, is guilty of such behaviour, as are some versions of Firefox. It's a subtle change, and you may not have noticed it.  Or maybe your browser hasn't updated itself yet.  But for many web users it's a definite annoyance. 
Add-ons have been developed to put things back the way they were, for Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. Details of how to get the add-ins for all major browsers can be found at http://www.guidingtech.com/8004/have-new-tab-page-open-specific-website-firefox-chrome/

Repairs Made Easy

If you think that repairing an electronic device is impossible or something only doable by the manufacturer, here is good news: Many repairs you can do yourself, including replacing the battery or a broken glass in many tablets. This goes for thousands of other products as well. Just  go to iFixit for manuals and step-by-step instruction.

Link:  http://www.ifixit.com/

Saturday, July 21, 2012

One Disadvantage of the Nexus 7

The more I learn how to do stuff with the Google Nexus 7 tablet, the more I like it and the more I applaud my decision to buy it. It's especially wonderful for Android phone users in general and Chrome browser users in particular because of how everything ends up synced among your phone, computer, and tablet. But there is one disadvantage: You cannot watch movies from Amazon Instant Video or Vudu because they require Flash Player 11 which is incompatible with the Nexus 7. That said, you can watch movies from Google's Play Store (without a subscription) and Netflix (with a subscription) and other sourcees.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Drippler for Android Devices

If you have an Android phone or tablet, Drippler is a must-have app to keep you up to date on the latest  software updates, usage tips, apps & games, tech-support, accessories and more, delivered right to your device. 


Speeding Up File Copying

Have you ever tried copying a bunch of files to another drive and been frustrated by how slow the process was? This can be especially noticeable with USB flash drives. One way to make copying go much faster is to copy one large file instead of many small ones. So use this trick – put all your files in a single archive (zip) file and copy that. But don’t use the Windows zip function to create the archive. It’s much too slow. Use a free program like 7-Zip, which is much faster.
Once they are copied, you can unzip the files on the new location if you wish. However, for many purposes  you can leave the files archived and access them when necessary with Windows Explorer or the 7-Zip file manager.
To illustrate how much time you save this way, here are some numbers that I got when I copied a 316 MB folder with 12, 904 files to a USB flash drive:
  • To copy the files the standard way took just under 22 minutes
  • To copy a single archived file (145 MB) – 1 minute, 32 seconds to create the archive and 33 seconds to copy.
Naturally, these numbers are specific to my setup with a fast Windows 7 computer and a particular USB 2.0 configuration but they give an idea of the time that can be saved.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Google Nexus 7 and Amazon/Google Support

The Google Nexus 7 iss sleek and very fast. Some of the set-up instructions are wrong (e.g., how to load Kindle content), but it is as customizable as an Android phone (and you can make its home screen for example look just like your phone's home screen). Upon signing in, the calendar, contacts, gmail, etc. are all synced. One thing in particular is way cool: It gives you actual page numbers of the books you're reading instead of "location - percentages." If you ever need help from Google or Amazon, both of their telephone tech support answer very quickly, know what they're talking about, and are quite helpful.

Contact Remover

Some devices, such as the Kindle Fire, have no way to delete contacts en masse. You can do so easily by installing the free app called Contact Remover (by HolyHog Software) which will enable you to "select all" your contacts and delete them all with one click or put a check next to each one you want to delete and delete all checked items with one click.

Web Browser as a Desktop Gadget

Minibrowser is a simple but capable web browser, implemented as desktop gadget for Windows 7.  It's small (less than 0.6 MB to download), and makes it easy to keep a source of web-based information permanently open on your desktop without it closing each time you close your main browser.  
To get Minibrowser, head to http://www.minibrowser.info/ and download the gadget file.  Then double-click to install it. Once you've installed it, the first thing you'll want to do is click its spanner icon, then the "sizes" tab, and set it to something larger than the default.  Then you'll have room to experiment with its settings and options.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

New Microsoft Office Suite

Even at this early stage, I really like The New Microsoft Office. And while it's not free, and you might ask why pay for it when you could get a comparable set of office tools from Google Docs for a lot less or even free, after using The New Microsoft Office (that's the official name of the entire suite) for a few days, I can tell you that there are plenty of reasons for trading up. For starters it's available wherever you are, on whatever device you're using at the time, and with full touch-screen support, the entire suite has been reinvented to work with Windows 8-driven tablets, regular keyboard-and-mouse desktop setups, and even smartphones. Along with a completely reinvented interface, all of these things come together to make it the best Office yet.

Chrome Browser Add-In to Zoom Images

Web site designers like to keep the size of their pages small, in order to fit more content on the page and to reduce the time they take to download.  This means that it's common for a web page to include thumbnail photos which are uncomfortably small to view, but which can be expanded by simply clicking on the small image.
Trouble is, when you want to expand an image, how do you know whether it's clickable or not?  Do you have to waste your time clicking thumbnails in order to find out which ones can be expanded?
Not any more.  Download a free add-in for the Chrome browser and, on any supported site, merely hovering the mouse over an image will display a larger version if one is available.
You can get the add-in, which is called Hover Zoom, at www.hoverzoom.net.  It's small, free, installs easily, and is incredibly helpful. 

How to Get the Best Price on Any Stuff Before and After Sale

Eyeona, which is free, will alert you of any drop in price to anything you buy online or in a store. It will also allow you to set up a price drop alert on anything you might want but whose price is more than you want to pay. There also is a way where Eyeona can do much of this automatically.

Link: http://www.eyeona.com/

Using Your iPad as an External Monitor or Connecting It to a TV or Computer Monitor

The iPad display is capable of so much more than firing pin-sharp pixels at your face. They say there's an app for anything, and while many throw a wrench in your productivity gears, some can improve your workflow in unexpected ways -- such as rigging up your iPad as an external display over Wi-Fi.
A second monitor could sit next to your laptop as a simple widescreen mobile hub, or alongside your desktop computer as extra visual real estate to keep those heavyweight widgets off your main screen.
It's not just available for Macs either. We'll be using Air Display ($9.99 in the App Store), which can pair Macs or PCs with an iPad, iPhoneAndroid device, or even other Macs, should you lack the necessary ports.
Preparing your Mac
  • Download the Air Display software to your computer; your computer will connect to your iPad over Wi-Fi.
  • Pick the combination of hardware you'll be using. This guide will use the Mac to iPad/iPhone software, but whichever way you swing, click the big blue "download" button. It should download automatically, but if not, you'll be given a direct link to nudge it along.
  • Once downloaded, run the installer as you would with any other desktop app. It'll ask you to restart the computer, so go ahead.
  • Your rebooted desktop should now include this icon in the menu bar:
Air Display in menu bar(Credit: Screenshot by CNET UK)
Connecting your iPad
  • Grab your iPad, make sure it's connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your Mac, then load the Air Display app.
  • Return to your Mac and click the menu bar icon. Check that Air Display is turned on, then select your iPad in the drop-down menu.
  • How to use iPad as a monitor(Credit: Screenshot by CNET UK)
  • If your iPad isn't in the menu, look on the Air Display iPad app, which offers a direct IP address. Back on the Mac's drop-down menu, click 'Connect To Other' and type the IP address.
Check the settings
  • At this point you should be connected, but there's a little more tweaking to do yet. Go to System Preferences, where we'll be setting the Air Display and Displays preferences.
  • How to use iPad as a monitor(Credit: Screenshot by CNET UK)
  • We'll check the new Air Display settings first. The default new iPad retina resolution can make elements far too small on the screen to be usable. One day, all Mac apps will be designed with HD in mind, but in the meantime, we'll switch off "Use Retina resolutions when available." You might want to tick "Auto-check for updates" while you're here.
  • Air Display preferences(Credit: Screenshot by CNET UK)
  • Now to the Display preferences. Place your iPad next to your monitor (or wherever you plan to use it), then click the "Arrangement" tab. The smaller blue box represents your iPad and the white bar dictates where your OS X menu bar will sit.
  • Check the menu bar is on the bigger display, then position the smaller blue box in the same place that your physical iPad is sitting. Don't worry if the screens flash blue while you make these changes, it's perfectly normal.
How to use iPad as a monitor(Credit: Screenshot by CNET UK)
Now you're set! Air Display runs pretty smoothly, but you might experience a little lag, depending on the speed of your Wi-Fi router.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Four Useful Battery-Saving Widgets

If you strive to save battery life by keeping wi-fi, bluetooth, and data off when not in use, your phone has a setting for each, but it normally takes a swipe and tap to set each and then a tap on the menu button to return to the home screen. You can save substantial time and effort (eliminating the swipes entirely and the second tap) by installing widgets for each (i.e., there is a wi-fi on/off widget, a bluetooth on/off widget and a data on/off widget).  Also, each of these widgets shows if it is on or off, so you won't be on wi-fi, bluetooth, or data by mistake. There is also a screen off widget. Those four widgets make a nice top row of your home screen.

Fixing Troublesome Wireless Connections

It can happen that you start having problems with a wireless network which worked well in the past. This might be due to the fact that the its settings may have been changed accidentally or its network profile, as saved on your computer, got corrupted for some reason. In such scenarios it helps to delete the profile of your wireless network and start fresh: have Windows 7 detect it again, introduce your connection details, etc. This tutorial will show how to delete the network profile of a troublesome wireless connection:


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Protect Yourself With Your Smartphone

For some time, there has been a smartphone case that turns your phone into a pepper spray gun. Soon, if the developers can raise the money for it, there will be a case that turns your phone into a taser. You can read all about it here: 

Next, if a smartphone case can be developed that will shoot bullets, there will be a constitutional right to carry a smartphone. It will be interesting to see how Justices Scalia et al justify this in terms of the Framers' original intent.

Eliminating Bloatware (UnwantedFactory-Installed Apps) From Your Phone

Your phone undoubtedly has many factory installed apps that you don't use and don't want and just take up space when you tap the Apps icon and you get update notifications for them that you would just as soon not. Most of them can be removed easily. Just hit Settings/Manage Applications/All and then scroll to each app you want to eliminate, hit Settings/Disable. The icon will then disappear from the App screen and you won't get update notifications. If you ever want to re-activate the app, it is at the bottom of the Manage Applications list and you just hit Enable. There is little risk, notwithstanding the warning, of messing anything up. But the really cool things about phones, unlike computers, is that if you have to do a factory reset, you can bring your phone back up to exactly where you had it, with all its content, contacts, and data, in a matter of minutes.

Best Free iPhone Apps

BusinessVoice Dictation | Business Card Scanner | Camera to PDF | Image To Text-OCR | Airport Info & Flight Status
BooksBook Reader
EducationNASA | Technology, Entertainment, Design Talks | Fractal Viewer | Basic HTML Guide
EntertainmentRemote Control for Apple | Movie & TV Reference
FinanceFinancial Markets Info | Compare Costs Per Unit
GamesAir Hockey | Word Game
Healthcare & FitnessRun Tracking | Nutritional Information | Fertility/Menstrual Cycle Tracker | Prescription Medicine ReminderOcean-Friendly Seafood | Medical Resource Guide
LifestyleGrocery List | Recipes | Ocean-Friendly Seafood | Voice Activated Assistant | Sushi Guide
MedicalMedical Reference
MusicPersonalized Music | Ringtone Maker
NavigationVoice Navigation
NewsMagazine Aggregator | News Aggregator
Photography and VideoImage Editor | Panoramic Stitcher | Photo Blog Aggregator | Camera Draw, Paint and Annotate Photos
ProductivityFile Syncing | Replacement Web Browser | Note, Image & Sound Recorder | Remote Computer Access |Calendar with Google Sync | Mind Mapping | Simple To Do list (Getting Things Done) | Aggregate SearchTo Do list with Web Access (Getting Things Done) | Simple List Note Taker
ReferenceWeb Search | Dictionary | Bookmark Manager | Language Translator | Wikipedia Search
Social NetworkingInfo Sharing | Video Calls | Instant Updates | Social Networking | Professional Network
TravelEarth Navigation | Best Local Businesses | Restaurant Reservations | Travel Reservations | Itinerary Tracker | Wi-Fi Finder | Currency Converter | Local Travel Information
WeatherWeather Forecasting

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Extending Battery Life

JuiceDefender seems to be a wonderful Android app to dramatically extend your phones battery life with the result that you can go longer, even much longer, between charges. There are three versions (all without ads): Free, Plus ($1.99), and Ultimate ($4.99). Start with the free, and inside of it you can see the additional features you would get with each of the paid versions. The more you use your phone, the more savings you will get from Juice Defender and from the two paid versions. I am sure there is a comparable iPhone app but, not having an iPhone, I can't test any of them.

Link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.latedroid.juicedefender&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEsImNvbS5sYXRlZHJvaWQuanVpY2VkZWZlbmRlciJd

Another Excellent Track and Bug Blocker

Most web pages that you view nowadays contain one or more (often many, many more) tricks and techniques that allow the operator of the web site to monitor your usage of that site.  This is done for marketing and advertising reasons. For example, a typical web page might contain multiple adverts, each of which has a unique ID number attached to the image so that, if you click the advert, the advertiser knows who clicked it.  Click a similar advert on a different site entirely, and those 2 clicks can be linked in order to identify you as an interested potential purchaser. If you're concerned about such things, and would like to protect your privacy when you're surfing, one useful program to explore is Ghostery. (This blog earlier covered Select Out and Do Not Track Plus, both of which I use, and now I use all three.) Ghostery is a free add-on for all the major web browsers and a cinch to install and setup.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Chrome and Android 4.0

If you have an Android device running 4.0 and you use the Chrome browser, your internet on your mobile device will look just like it does on your computer (e.g., all the same bookmarks organized the same way). In addition, the Chrome browser on your mobile device will ask you if you want Chrome to remember your login info for any site just as it does on your computer. So, once you've logged into a site on your mobile device, it will be automatic in the future.

View Documents Via Your Browser

gPDF is an extension that lets you view almost all kinds of documents available online, directly within your web browser. 

gPDF works by automatically setting links that are pointing to RTF, ODT, ODS, ODP, CSV files to open with Zoho Viewer; and links pointing to PDF, DOC, DOCX, XLS, XLSX, PPT & PPTX files to open with Google Docs. This means that you don't need to install separate and bloated Adobe Reader, Open Office, Microsoft Office software to view each of these documents. 
There are various advantages associated with this extension. First, you don't need to install potentially vulnerable tools like local pdf readers such as Adobe Reader, instead you can view the files remotely without ever downloading them. enlightened gPDF connects to Google Docs Viewer and Zoho Viewer via secured HTTPS connection, so you're safe from any exploits. 
Second, the documents open very fast just like viewing another web page, no waiting for completion of download or copy-pasting links into online document viewers. Apart from a full screen view implementation, there are links to EDIT and SAVE the files in your Google Docs or Zoho account.
No more wasting time to open a lot of documents while surfing online! No No No more Downloading! 
Firefox - Docs Online Viewer
Chrome - gPDF , GoogleDocsPDFViewer
Opera - gPDF

Aaron Sorkin

If you like Aaron Sorkin (West Wing, Social Network, etc.), you will LOVE this clip. And if you like it in the beginning, you will find it just gets better and better as it goes on.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Latest Tech Support Scam

See http://www.securingthehuman.org/newsletters/ouch/issues/OUCH-201207_en.pdf

GPS NavigationUnit

If you haven't bought a GPS unit lately, or are considering a GPS navigation unit for a new car, you have got to see how great the new hand-held ones have become. For $150 for a 5" hand-held Garmin from Costco,  the Garmin wins by far even without regard to the $1500 to $3000 cost savings. It has life-time maps, works in Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean and elsewhere, it gives more useful instructions including lane instructions, it is easier to use, it is far more programmable with many more options, it can be used in or out of the car, and you can blue-tooth your phone to it--taking away what had been the one advantage of the built-ins.

Super Fast Router

Routers not only connect devices throughout the home to the Internet, but also create a wireless home network for the high-speed delivery of content. A new router from Western Digital, My Net N900, while a bit more expensive than existing home routers, is a huge improvement both in setup and performance. People who use their computers for streaming content and are plagued by buffering issues [Davey, are you listening?]will find this a God-send.

The setup for the My Net N900 could not be  easier.  As soon as the router is connectged and turned it on, your laptop will recognize the signal, and all your  Wi-Fi-enabled devices will be connected.

The router’s dual bands mean you get twice the bandwidth, with speeds of up to 900 megabits per second, which is great for streaming high-definition movies and playing online games. And Western Digital’s FasTrack feature (so fast, it only needs one “T”) prioritizes content, putting movies and games at the head of the line. While streaming a high-definition movie to my laptop, I was able to download another movie on my iPad and check my e-mail on myiPhone without any hiccups in the quality of the movie I was watching.

The My Net N900 router sells for about $180 at most electronics retailers. Western Digital also offers less-expensive routers with slower data rates and higher-end versions with integrated storage.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Google Nexus 7 Tablet

Here is Walter Mossberg's quite positive and fairly thorough review of the Google Nexus 7 tablet that just came out.


How to See Your Computer Files on Your Phone or Tablet

Once you've signed up a Dropbox account, you can upload and access your files in the account from anywhere via a web browser but to simplify your work, you can also install the Dropbox application onto your Windows, Mac or Linux PC, or your Android, iPad, iPhone or BlackBerry mobile device. The app then helps you to synchronize your files in specific folders across computers and mobile devices automatically.
If you're using an Android device, the Dropbox app for Android will automatically search your device for an application that is able to open the file type you want to view or edit. Or if you're using the iPad or iPhone, all files supported will preview natively in the Dropbox app in any of these formats:
  • Images (jpg, tiff, gif)
  • Music (mp3, aiff, m4a, wav)
  • Movies (mov, mp4, m4v)
  • MS Office (doc, docx, xls, xlsx, ppt, pptx)
  • Adobe PDF (pdf)
  • Text and Rich Text (txt, rtf)
  • Web pages (htm, html)
  • Keynote presentation (key)
  • Pages documents (pages)
  • Numbers spreadsheets (numbers)
  • And more.
This Dropbox app also allows you to save as many files from your account as your mobile phone or tablet can hold for offline use. When running out of space on your device, try removing files from your Favorites list to help clear space.

Dropbox  — Free Android / iOS App of the Week
For Android
Size: Varies with device
Download: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dropbox.android
For iPad and iPhone
Size: 12.1 MB
Download: http://itunes.apple.com/app/dropbox/id327630330?mt=8

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Samsung Galaxy S3

If you are an Android user, you should migrate to the Samsung Galaxy S3 as soon as you can. You can download the Chrome Browser and, immediately, your phone's browser will look just like your computer desktop's browser, and give you all the Chrome features like the ability to print. The battery indicator can be changed to show a percentage instead of an indecipherable icon. It is amazingly fast. It is easy to learn to use, and within a couple of hours, you will realize you know more than your carrier's tech people and even the Samsung tech people. It's got a huge screen but is extremely light and slim. You can get very inexpensive accessories, including a case with a kickstand to make movie watching easy. It has a home button like the iPhone, eliminating the last remnant advantage of an iPhone over an Android phone.

Tethering Your iPad to a Smartphone

If you have an iPad with a 3G connection and a data plan with a wireless provider, you will always have an internet connection. But if your iPad is wi-fi only, then you might think you will have an internet connection only if you are within range of a wi-fi. Not true. If you have a smartphone, you can "tether" the iPad to the smartphone and use the smartphone's 3G connection to get an internet connection anywhere. How to set up the tether depends on your make of smartphone, but if you go to The Google and put in "tethering iPad to X" (without the quotes) where X is the smartphone make/model, you will find setup instructions.

Great Cover for an iPad

Logitech has come out with a new ultrathin cover for an iPad that integrates a keyboard. It's not free, but at $99 it is a must-have for any iPad owner. The link below has a cool video demonstration of it.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Upgrading a SmartPhone

Typically, you will buy a phone at a discounted price and agree to a 2-year contract with an early termination fee. The early termination fee will decline by $10/month or so. At the 18-month mark or so, the carrier typically will let you upgrade to a new phone at the discounted price if you renew the contract. You also can upgrade sooner for an " upgrade fee" although be careful because there is a cross-over point where the early-termination fee is less than the upgrade fee and the carrier might not alert you to that. All that said, if you are diligent dealing with your carrier by phone, and making sure the rep documents all the slights that you report that have victimized you over time, and painstakingly set out each of your grievances as they happen, and the carrier understands you are so upset with certain things that, even while you are speaking calmly and politely and know it's not the reps fault, you likely will change carriers, some wonderful accommodations can be made, including: putting you on a most favorable rate plan that doesn't even exist anymore and letting you upgrade your phone (e.g., to the Samsung Galaxy S3 with Android 4.0 OS that will let you run the Chrome browser on it) at the discounted price with no upgrade fee or early-termination fee.

Monitoring and Controlling Data Usage

The Onavo Count app makes it easy to keep track of your data usage by monitoring your data activity. In the apps' App Watch, access data usage details about each of your apps, including your weekly usage and your average usage. Onavo Count also gives you valuable insights into the behaviors of your mobile apps by collecting apps' data usage trends. With this information, learn which apps are prone to being data hogs before they eat up your data, and let Onavo Count help you make the most of your data plan. This app is available for Android phones but not iPhones.

Easy Way to Limit Data Usage

With most providers, data doesn't come free. Overage fees are a major pain, but this app can help keep you under your limit. The Onavo Extend app compresses other app data automatically. Some users have cut their data usage by half or more. Onavo also will you give you a monthly report of your usage, so you can see which of your apps are hogging the most data. It even helps you save money if you're roaming. This app is available for iPhones but not Android phones.

App to Find Wi-Fi Hot Spots

JiWire uses your phone or tablet's GPS to find nearby Wi-Fi hotspots. It even gives you directions.
The app sorts hotspots by service provider, which is helpful if you have a deal with AT&T or T-Mobile. Looking for coffee? You can sort by hotspot location type. It will even tell you whether the location you choose provides free access or is behind a pay wall.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

World's Best Kaleidoscope

If you like kaleidoscopes, you will love this. It will move on its own, but running your cursor over it slowly and putting your cursor right in the middle is worth the effort.

Link: http://inoyan.narod.ru/kaleidoskop.swf

Amazing Akinator

Akinator, the Web Genius, is a very clever genie whose sole purpose is to determine what fictional or non-fictional character you're thinking of. He's got a remarkable rate of success. Just answer his Yes/No/Maybe questions, and in no time he'll be able to deduce your character. See if you can stump him! 

Link: http://us.akinator.com/#

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Rebooting Devices With Un-Removeable Batteries

If you don't have an ultra-book-type computer, you should definitely get one (fast boot-up, very light, very slim, very cool). If you do have one, you need to know what to do if it does not boot right and the monitor is black and  the keyboard does not work and nothing works to force it to reboot and the battery is not removeable so you cannot even turn off the computer. Just push and hold down the power button and the computer will turn off, and then after waiting a bit, you can boot it up again and everything should be fine. While it might take 15 seconds or more of holding down the power button, that is much shorter time than it takes, while you are in a complete panic, to call tech support and have to repeatedly give your contact and computer info, be transferred three times before you get through to the right person who actually turns out to not even know that the battery was not removeable, just to be told to hold down the power button.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Windows Firewall Control

Recent versions of Windows pack some underrated security tools, such as the Windows Firewall, which compares favorably with quite a few better known firewalls and even plays nicely with many of them. Windows Firewall Control is a simple bit of freeware that extends the capabilities of the built-in Windows firewall controls. It adds icons and entries to the system tray, desktop, and other locations; adds shell integration in Explorer menus; and other options. The system tray icon's color indicates Windows Firewall's filtering status; high, medium, low, and no filtering, for when the firewall is turned off. Clicking the icon opens the program's compact console, which offers tabs for Profiles, Options, Policies, Shortcuts, and About. The Profiles tab includes Windows Firewall's filtering slider, a button to access a detailed rules manager, and the ability to lock the current configuration. 

Link: http://download.cnet.com/Windows-Firewall-Control/3000-10435_4-75445115.html

One-Click Dictionary

Why look up a word in a traditional dictionary when you can press Ctrl + right-click on any word either online or offline and retrieve a definition? That's exactly what WordWeb helps you do. WordWeb also includes a full thesaurus, as well as more than 5,000 audio pronunciation recordings and more than 65,000 text pronunciations. You can even look up a word in online encyclopedias like Wikipedia and Wiktionary.

Cost: Free