Monday, September 30, 2013

How to Restore the Old Tab/App Page in Chrome

In the latest version of the browser, Google changed the appearance of the page you get when you want to create a new tab. Now you get a lot of white space, a great big Google logo, and an unnecessary search bar. (See the graphic below.)  A lot of people (including me) don’t like it. Fortunately, there is a quick way to bring back the way the new tab page previously looked.
  1. Enter "chrome://flags" (without quotes) in the address bar (or “omnibox” as Google terms it). 
  2. In the page that opens, scroll down until you locate the entry "Enable Instant Extended API Mac, Windows, Chrome OS". (It’s a long list. You might want to use Ctrl+F and the Find box).
  3. In the little drop-down dialog at the bottom-left of the entry, click “Disabled”
  4. At the bottom-left of your window, there should be a button “Relaunch Now”. Click it. Otherwise, just close and restart the browser.
  5. If you want the new style back, click "Enabled" in step 3 above and restart the browser.

Friday, September 27, 2013

New iPhone and Nausea

In a development that Sartre would love, the floating apps in the new iPhones are causing many users to become nauseated and seasick. You can't make this stuff up.

Article Link: http://tinyurl.com/pq6mrpl

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Getting Into Difficult Restaurants

The story link below will take you to a practical guide for getting into restaurants, especially in New York, that are very difficult to get reservations at. The Rezhound link will arrange for you to get any table that opens up on any restaurant you choose that's listed on OpenTable.

Story Link: http://tinyurl.com/nkj4n2t

Rezhound Link: http://www.rezhound.com/

Correct Time

There are instances one needs or at least wants the exact time, e.g., checking-in with Southwest at the 24-hour mark if you did not buy an Early Bird Special. The official NIST atomic world clock now requires java to show the web page, but that's not a good enough reason to install java given its risks. Instead, while not as fancy schmancy, NIST has a widget that gives the official time with a 0.1 second delay.

Widget URL: http://www.time.gov/widget.html

New Corn Recipe

Roast the ear(s) of corn or use the easier and just-as-tasty microwave method outlined in earlier postings. Lightly coat ear(s) with mayonnaise instead of butter. Dust with Cotija cheese and smoked paprika. If you're out of Cotija, substitute freshly grated parmesan; if you're out of smoked paprika, substitute regular powdered paprika. Serve as an appetizer or a side dish.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Credit Card Benefits

Your credit card may include many benefits for no additional cost, including the following: (i) protection against theft, damage, or loss to personal property bought with the card; (ii) automatic extending of warranties by a year; (iii) reimbursement for lost luggage; (iv) compensation for baggage delays; (v) travel accident insurance; (vi) travel and emergency assistance services; and (vii) auto rental collision damage waiver. If your card does not provide these, you might look for a card that does, such as Chase Visa that also gives you Southwest Airlines frequent flier miles.

Desktop Slider

Desktop Slider is a really neat free utility for Windows that allows you to avoid clutter on your desktop when there are lots of windows open. Consider what happens when your screen is getting a little crowded.  You probably drag some windows out to the far edges of the display, leaving just enough of the window visible so that you can drag it back into view when you need to access it again.  The purpose of Desktop Slider is to allow you to slide those windows completely off the screen, and yet still bring them back very easily. The clever part is that they move in the opposite direction to how you're dragging the mouse, which means you can move them totally off the screen without losing your mouse pointer!  The same method can be used to retrieve windows, or you can retrieve specific ones via the Desktop Slider icon in the status bar. If you don't have a huge screen but you always wished you did, Desktop Slider might just be the ticket.

Download Link: http://rodrigorfc.webs.com/apps.html

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Vacation Hold for Netflix ... Gone But Not Forgotten

Netflix no longer has an option to put one's account on hold. However, the same result can be achieved by canceling one's account and then re-activating it. Simply visit cancel membership to cancel your service and visit Member Sign In when you are ready to log back in and restart service. Netflix will maintain your billing information and ratings for a year. For members in the US, Netflix also maintains your Queue and address information.

Fix for New Evernote Web Clipper

Evernote is one of those essential programs, which enables one to save everything and anything. Unfortunately, the new Evernote Web Clipper (V6.0) does not work for many people and on many browsers and on many operating systems. If it is not working for you, at least for Chrome, there is only one way to "fix" it, and that is to remove V6.0 and install V 5.9.20. Here is how:

Chrome Clipper 5.9.20
Updated Sep 16, 2013
Installation:
1) First remove or disable your existing Web Clipper ( right-click Web Clipper toolbar icon and choose manage extensions)
2) Install the beta by downloading the file below to your local drive.
Then drag the file icon below into the 'Manage Extensions' page (right click any extension icon > Manage Extensions)


3) Restart Chrome browser
4) Start using this version

See also: http://tinyurl.com/maql73v

Note 1: This version will not Auto Update. You will need to uninstall it manually when a new version is released.

Note 2: I have reported that V6 problem to Evernote and asked them to post the work-around on their website until the problem is fixed.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The FrankenCamera: The Best of Two Worlds

While not free, the Sony QX10 and QX100, which marries awesome lenses with smartphone screens, might be the best thing to happen to digital photography. They are digital cameras that clip onto smartphones so it is like having interchangeable lenses for your smartphone that then rivals some of the best point-and-shoot cameras, but with some neat advantages. For example, the QXs do not even have to be attached physically to the phone to use its screen for viewing, so you can hold the lens up high while still viewing the scene through the phone. This is great for concert shots and for self-portraits.

Alternate View 1




Alternate View 2

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Two Corrections

1. Regarding the Costco return policy, if you want a refund, you will need to take back the entire faucet, not just the broken screw-in sprayer piece. If you do take in just the broken screw-in sprayer piece, the Costco guy will be very nice even when he makes you feel like the total idiot you are when he asks: What is this that you are returning? And you realize what you're holding in your hand is not the faucet.

2. Regarding return to the original Gmail compose page, do NOT use the third-party app extension mentioned earlier. Instead, use either Retro Compose for Gmail or Classic Gmail Compose, both of which are available in the Chrome Store.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fast Food Facts at Your Fingertips

This app will give you the calories and contents of every item on the menu of every fast food and chain restaurant. The good news for Android users, it's only available for Apple devices.

Download Link: http://supersizemeapp.com/

Costco Return Policy

If you bought say a kitchen faucet from Costco more than two years ago or any number of years ago, and it had a limited life-time warranty, and it just broke, and the faucet manufacturer has gone out of business and Costco has no relation with it anymore, Costco will still accept the return and issue a full refund, even on a cool faucet such as the one pictured here:



[Note: While Fontaine Faucets is out of business, its faucets are still being marketed all over the internets. Prudence would advise against buying a Fontaine Faucet]


Homeland -- Season 2

Some of the plot premises and twists are nothing short of stupid. And filming clearly took place before the extent and capability of NSA surveillance was known because what happened in the series could not and would not happen now. But with all its flaws, the acting is so good, the characters so appealing, and the photography is so dazzling that it all adds up to good viewing.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Restoring Old Compose in Gmail

If you liked the old compose screen in Gmail, the good news is you can get it back. Just click on the link below and follow the instructions.

Link: http://tinyurl.com/ooh3fy4

DVD Converter Give-Away

During Tuesday 17th September, Aimersoft is giving away free licences for Aimersoft DVD Creator. The program is a DVD burning utility which also allows you to create playable DVD discs from various movile file formats.  Those formats include MP4, AVI, WMV, MOV, FLV, MKV, and more.  It can also burn a collection of images to a DVD disc as a slideshow.
The software is a 33 MB download, which I have tested with VirusTotal and it's free of malware. You'll need to be quick.  The offer runs for 24 hours, so if you access the link after Tuesday 17th September the free licence key will no longer be offered.

Download Link: http://www.aimersoft.com/dvd-creator.html

Monday, September 16, 2013

Universal Download Manager

Download Managers are plenty around the web, but a Universal Download Manager is rare. EagleGet conveniently falls into the second category. It helps you capture and download any file on the web, and also 'sniffs' streaming media playing on your browser and downloads them. The software supports a wide range of protocols from HTTP, HTTPs, FTP, MMS, RTSP and so on.
Now the question is why do you want to use a download manager or specifically what makes EagleGet so special compared to other download managers available out there?
  1. Imagine those situations were you lose your internet connection or your system crashes; it will be difficult to continue those downloads that you were transferring. The multithreaded technology in EagleGet will save you time and your nerves while downloading files helping you to Pause and Resume any broken downloads.
  2. The same Multithreading technology will increase your download speed greatly, by splitting these files into smaller parts and downloading them simultaneously.
  3. EagleGet Integrates into popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Opera and IE. Not only that, what makes EagleGet so special is its Universal Capture mode, the clipboard monitoring will work on almost all browsers, which means any downloads get transferred to EagleGet no matter what browser you're using.
  4. The Media Sniffer feature is another delight: you can download streaming audio and video from any website you want, in the easiest way possible, and a "Download Now" button will be available while playing. It also provides options for quality of the video to be downloaded, if available.
  5. The Batch Downloader feature lets you download multiple URLs and thus, a whole range of files in an instant.
Moreover, EagleGet is the only freeware download manager that supports Automatic Refreshing of an expired download link ie it lets you resume any broken downloads. The installer scores 0/45 at VirusTotal, contains no adware and the interface is extremely appealing. The downloads are Categorized into different folders for ease of access. With the Drag and Drop feature you can re-arrange the priority of downloads. The Scheduler feature helps you take care of your downloads even when you're not physically present in front of your PC. Also, you can verify the integrity of all files that have been downloaded.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Metal Detector

In the olden days, you had to lug around a big thing like this if you wanted to do some metal detecting:

Metal Detector - screenshot thumbnail

Fortunately, those days are over. Just put "metal detector" into the search box of iTunes or Play and you can turn your smartphone into a metal detector.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Stories We Tell

A truly first-rate documentary and much more. If you like storytelling, or like how storytelling is constructed, or like what families do with family stories, or like what memory does to storytelling and to families, you will love this movie. Actually, you will love it even if you don't like any of those things.

IMDb Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2366450/?ref_=sr_1

Confessing Sins the Modern Way

One no longer has to go to a place of worship to confess one's sins. With eScapegoat, for example, users anonymously upload their confessions onto a cartoon goat, and then can watch the goat being pushed off a cliff the way that early third-century rabbis describe the scapegoat's banishment. On daillyconfession.com, confessions once directed only toward God can now be shared with the 32,000 users who visit the site each day.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bob Dylan Was Right

The times, they are a changing ... 




From The New Yorker (Sept. 9, 2013)

Desiderata of Using an SD Card

SD cards are inexpensive and a good place to store data (files, photos, etc.) on your phone or tablet. By doing so, your device, particularly older ones, will do everything much faster because the data will be "out of the way" of the OS and the apps.



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Have Two Homes? Travel Alot? Get a Slingbox

One of the drawbacks of having two (or more) homes has been having to pay for cable TV. No longer. A Slingbox, which starts at $180 (but it's a one-time fee only ... no monthly charges), will send you live or recorded shows to anywhere you are, and will let you control your cable box remotely.

More Info Link: http://www.slingbox.com/

Garmin HUD

Garmin has a GPS app that also includes projection of a heads-up display to the windshield. It cost about $150 for the display plus $50 for a map, but some might think the extra safety in not having to look away from the road is worth it. And, while Garmin doesn't realize it, the HUD harkens back to Winky Dink days, because it includes a thin screen material that you have to adhere to the windshield (much like you do a screen protector onto a phone or tablet) on which the display will appear, but undoubtedly will induce young-uns to draw on.

Fast Lookup

One of the cool things about eReaders is that if there is a word or person or thing you don't know, just press on it and the device will bring up the definition or other information about it without your having to go to a new source. Now that same feature is available for your computer, both PC and Mac. It's called curiyo and it's free.

Download Link: http://curiyo.com/

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Parking at Sky Harbor

Credit Card Express offers an easy and fast alternative for parking and paying at Sky Harbor.
How it works:
  • When entering any of our parking facilities, insert your credit or debit card into the machine. No ticket will be issued as the system will store your information, eliminating the need to hold onto a parking ticket.
  • Park in any available space and enjoy your trip.
  • When returning and exiting the parking facility, simply insert the same credit or debit card into the reader. The system will bill your card based on your time at the facility and print a receipt.
Credit Card Express accepts American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa.

Note of Caution: If you are parking during one of the specials where the garage prices are cut from $25 to $15, this CCE option might not work. So, the prudent course in this circumstance would be to do the ticket route.

Free Universal Media Player

Have you ever tried to watch a video file only to find out your usual media player program can't play it? QuickTime and Windows Media Player come preloaded on most computers, but they don't play every file type. VLC is a free, open-source media player that plays almost every audio and video file format in existence, plus CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray. It even handles webcams and streaming content, and it can convert media from one format to another.
Not only is it powerful, it's lightweight. There isn’t an overabundance of flashy features and useless add-ons. That means it runs fast. Plus there are no ads!

Download Link: http://www.videolan.org/vlc/

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Sapphires

If you don't like soul music, there's nothing more to say. But if you do, you've been waiting over 30 years for "them" to finish the trilogy beginning with the Blues Brothers and the Commitments. Now they have, with the Sapphires. The music might not be as robust and in some instances not as familiar, but it is based on a true story and its poignancy is transcendent. So, Jimmy, if you fear Wilson Pickett might not be immortal, worry not.

IMDb Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1673697/?ref_=sr_1

See What Your Computer Is Running

Autoruns is a small free program that will show you everything that is running on your computer in a neatly organized way, and spotlights everything that loads automatically when you boot-up. You can right-click on each entry and quickly determined if disabling it will do any harm. Each item you disable will lead to a faster boot-up.

Download Link: http://autoruns.en.softonic.com/

Mud

Mud has its flaws, including that it: (i) is about a half-hour too long; (ii) drags in parts; and (iii) steals many scenes and the gist of scenes from other movies albeit very good movies, such as El Camino, True Grit, and Stand by Me. But the spot-on casting and superb acting alone make the time spent with this movie worthwhile, and it is destined for an Oscar for best makeup or best special effects for Matthew McConaughey's teeth. And missing this movie would mean you miss the movie whose promotional premiere led to the kerfuffle Reese Witherspoon had with the law.

IMDb Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1935179/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

PS: If you are disappointed with the movie, this capture of profound disappointment should ease your pain: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvbQ4wJak_c

Saturday, September 7, 2013

PDF Editor

Debenu PDF Tools is a free Windows utility for quickly editing PDF files without needing to open them. Just right-click on a PDF in Windows Explorer and select the ‘Debenu PDF Tools’ menu item to see the list of features. It’s simple to use and will let you preview PDF files, merge PDF files, edit document properties, add and edit custom metadata, convert images to PDF, convert PDF to text and much more. Readers with long memories may recall that I featured this program about a year ago.  However, the new version has added many more features to the free edition.

Download Link: http://www.debenu.com/products/desktop/debenu-pdf-tools/free/

Friday, September 6, 2013

Drinking Buddies

You can wait until a movie comes out in the theatres, or you can watch it on Vudu even sooner. Vudu is a pay-per-view rental service ... no monthly or other fees ... and the charges are quite low. Drinking Buddies is a good example, which came out on Vudu a while ago and just now came out in the theatres.

Many people were disappointed when Jennifer Aniston could not make the transition from the small screen to the big screen, and many people shared the skepticism that Olivia Wilde could not either. But they were wrong. She could and she did, proving that House made a big mistake letting her go. She's a wonderful actress, and turns in a terrific performance.

It's not a perfect movie, but it's very very good. The acting is superb and the style is a cross between documentary, reality, and ad-lib. The people are very real, both in terms of likability and being frustrated with them. While set in brewery world, this is not your Laverne and Shirley.

The ending is like totally obtuse and open to much debate. But while you debate it, be sure to watch all the credits, which are unique. There are not many movies that give credits to "beer consultants," and the list of people thanked is like a nice journey home.

PS: If you haven't re-watched Joe Versus the Volcano and Waiting for Guffman in a while, you must. Neither are perfect, but both are wonderful. Christopher Guest is true genius.

IMDb Link to Drinking Buddies: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2265398/?ref_=sr_1

IMDb Link to Joe V. Volcano: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099892/?ref_=sr_1

     Best Line: "I know he can get the job ... but can he do the job." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Am7qO66kZR4

IMDb Link to Waiting for Guffman: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118111/?ref_=sr_2

IMDb Link to Laverne & Shirley http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074016/?ref_=sr_2

Navigation Systems

In-dash navigation (GPS) systems are coming down dramatically in price and making wonderful advances in technology. Whether originally installed or retrofitted, besides the latest mapping features and voice control, they will bluetooth your phone or other devices, tell you speed limits, have an am/fm tuner, are HD radio and satellite radio ready, provide a CD and DVD player, provide USB connectivity, and even display incoming texts and email messages.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

If You Are Looking for a Piano, Read On

If you covet a grand piano but don't want to spend $120,000 for one, David Pogue's excellent review of various Yamaha offerings  in the NYT gives you some terrific alternatives. Here it is:

There are some things you just don’t expect to read about in a column about electronics. Gluten-free waffles, for example. Ferrets. Moist towelettes. And you’d probably expect that list to include pianos. No, not digital pianos. Not those plastic, flat appliances with 983 instrument sounds and realism that would fool nobody. I mean real pianos, the kind in concert halls, clad in glistening black lacquer, with three pedals and wooden keys that make felt-covered hammers strike taut metal strings. Those instruments have always been strictly analog. And very expensive.
A few years ago, Yamaha tried a crazy experiment. What if it produced a grand piano that was traditional in almost every respect — except that it replaced strings with sensors? What if the sound came from painstakingly recorded audio snippets, or samples, of each string from a $120,000 top-of-the-line grand piano, reproduced through a set of high-end speakers? The result was the AvantGrand N3, a gorgeous baby grand hybrid piano that you can buy today for about $15,000. (Yamaha won’t reveal its pianos’ street prices, only ludicrously high suggested retail prices. The prices printed here come from Chicago’s Grand Piano Haus, but the three other dealers I called across the country were in the same ballpark.) The feel of the N3’s wooden keys and hammers is identical to those on Yamaha’s real pianos; you even feel the keys subtly vibrate when you strike them hard, exactly as on a real piano. The samples and speakers are so good, most players would not even realize it’s not a real grand piano. Then came the N2, a space-saving “upright grand” version with the same features ($11,000). And the N1, a less expensive upright ($8,000).
All these pianos offer a few towering advantages over stringed pianos. First, they never need tuning. That’s a very big deal; real pianos have to be professionally tuned, string by string (there are about 230 of them on a grand piano), especially if they’re in rooms that aren’t humidity- and temperature-controlled. That’s pricey and time-consuming. Second, you can turn the volume up or down, or listen through headphones. That makes hybrids sensational for apartments, dorm rooms or anywhere else that your practicing might disturb others. Turning the speakers down is also useful when you’re accompanying a singer or soloist whose volume is no match for your impassioned playing. Finally, hybrid pianos are much smaller and lighter than real ones. The N3, for example, sounds like a nine-foot grand, but it’s only four feet long.
The only thing Yamaha never managed to do is fix the price. Real upright pianos usually cost $5,000 to $15,000; the world’s best selling piano, for example, is Yamaha’s U1 upright, which costs $7,500. And real grand pianos cost $10,000 to $50,000. So Yamaha’s hybrids may save space, weight and tuning, but they don’t save you much money.
That, no doubt, is why Yamaha has now introduced a fourth AvantGrand model, the NU1 upright hybrid — with a street price of about $4,500. Finally, there’s a hybrid that costs less than its analog counterpart. The question is, how much of the AvantGrand amazingness did Yamaha have to leave out to reach that price? First, the good news: the NU1 is still a beautiful, shiny black upright piano, a magnificent-looking piece of furniture — but it’s even more compact. It’s about 18 inches deep and 40 inches tall, making it fantastic for small spaces. (This means you, inhabitants of practice rooms and Manhattan apartments.) It still has the real wooden keys and hammer mechanism — or “action,” as pianists call it — that makes all of these hybrids feel exactly the same as a real piano, giving you all of the same expressive capability. The action on the NU1 mimics the one on a real upright, meaning that it’s not quite as great as the ones on the N1, N2 and N3, which all feel like grand pianos. But it responds to heavy playing, light playing, fast playing, grace notes and clomping chords exactly the way an upright piano would.
And the NU1 still produces sound recorded from the strings of one of the world’s finest pianos. Buying this budget model does, however, entail giving up some goodies. Most of them are minor. For example, this piano has white plastic on the tops of its wooden keys, rather than the synthetic ivory on the N2 and N3. The NU1 also lacks the two features that the more expensive AvantGrand pianos use to create subtle, realistic resonance and vibration: what Yamaha calls the Tactile Response System (the keys vibrate slightly) and the Soundboard Resonator (a flat-panel oscillating unit, on the N3 grand, that replicates the vibration of the strings themselves “singing”). Only a hard-core pianist would notice that these features are gone. Even a novice, however, will immediately miss the realism of the NU1’s sound. It’s just not as convincing as the other hybrids. Part of the problem is the way the sounds were recorded. On the fancier pianos, Yamaha placed four microphones at carefully selected spots inside the piano; they’re reproduced in speaker configurations placed at the same positions. From where you sit as you play, the sound seems incredibly resonant and realistic. But not on this piano. The samples were recorded in stereo, and the speakers aren’t as sophisticated or as plentiful (4 instead of 12). As a result, the sound seems somehow flat, somehow slightly canned. It’s light-years better than what you’d hear on a typical synthesizer or digital piano; from the next room, you’d swear you were listening to a real piano. But the NU1’s sound simply isn’t as rich as the other N-series pianos. All of that changes when you listen through headphones or connect the piano’s output jack to a better sound system. Suddenly you’re hearing the fullness and depth of the original samples — and they’re spectacular.
Of course, the NU1 is digital. And so, as on its predecessors, it offers a few buttons that expand its flexibility. For example, you get a choice of keyboard sounds: two grand piano sounds, two electric pianos and an incredibly authentic-sounding harpsichord. Buttons on the left-side control panel also let you transpose the entire instrument to a different key or fraction of a key, or even choose a different temperament, that is, a historical tuning; history buffs and music students know what that means. You can connect a computer for recording and playback using MIDI software, through either the USB or the MIDI jacks on the back. The NU1 may be the world’s most realistic-feeling MIDI “controller” — a keyboard that techie musicians use to set off other instrument sounds supplied by the computer or other sound equipment. You can also plug in a USB flash drive to save audio or MIDI recordings of your performances. And you get a built-in metronome, control over the amount of reverb (echo) you hear, and a choice of key sensitivity levels. The piano comes with 50 built-in classical-piano recordings and a printed book of the corresponding sheet music. Since you can slow down the playback, you wind up with a great way to learn these pieces.
With the N1, N2 and N3, Yamaha added phenomenal digital flexibility to its pianos without affecting their touch, their sound — or their price. The NU1 maintains the real touch of a piano and undercuts the price — with some sacrifice in sound quality.If you intend to perform on a hybrid piano, therefore, it’s probably worth the money to get Yamaha’s AvantGrand N2. It’s the upright with both the realistic action and the realistic sound of a real grand piano. But many people would happily sacrifice a little acoustical realism to save several thousand dollars. The compact, inexpensive NU1 makes a fantastic practice piano, apartment piano or starter piano — better, for most people, than an equivalently priced real piano.
This line of products makes it clear that the beauty, clarity and expressiveness of real pianos has finally entered the digital age. Ferrets and waffles may take a little longer.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Glary Utilities

Glary Utilities ("GU") is considered the best maintenance program, and rightly so. If not used for anything else (although it should be used as part of one's weekly maintenance routine), it's Startup Manager can do wonders to speed up the boot time by making it easy to limit or delay programs that startup when the computer boots up. You can add any program to the startup list, remove any program, or delay (by 30s or 60s or longer) the startup of any program. My computer now boots up in 17 seconds, and GU will tell you where that ranks percentile-wise versus all other computers. Finally, GU is free.

Download Link: http://www.glarysoft.com/

Way Cool Travel Charger

If you are tired of carrying a bunch of cables to charge your phone and tablet when traveling, while not free, one of the My Charge Portable Powerbank Chargers might be for you. They can charge up to three devices at one time. The link below has a good tutorial explaining it and a thing to tell you which model(s) are best for your purposes. They are available all over including from The Amazon, The eBay, Costco, and the below link as well.

Link: http://www.mycharge.com/

Transferring Stuff From Your Smartphone to Your Computer

There are various ways to transfer various kinds of data (music, photos, videos, etc.) from your phone to your computer. The easiest way is to just plug your phone into a usb port (either with a usb wire or with a soft cable app) and your phone will appear in My Computer as an attached media device from and to which you can drag and drop data files. Unfortunately, while this works for some data (e.g., it's terrific for mp3 stuff), it does not work for all types of data. The next easiest way is to install an app (there are many to choose from) from your app store or your wireless provider that will do the transfer for you. Android devices have a Kies Air app that does the same although it is quite clunky. Finally, you can email data to yourself, but this can problematic with large data files (as photos often are).

Your Smartphone as a Magnifier

You can turn your smartphone into a magnifying glass with the right app. I recommend the Over 40 Magnifier and Flashlight for Apple gadgets and Magnificent Magnifier HD for Android users.
These magnifying apps use your smartphone's camera to enlarge what's in front of you. They also take advantage of your phone's flash, which can help if you're trying to read in a poorly lit area.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Better (and Totally Free) Way to Control Your PC From Your iPad and Other Devices

Last week, the folks at Parallels unveiled Access, a remote-control utility for Windows and Mac that lets you access either of those desktop environments via an iPad app. The program earned gushing coverage from the likes The New York Times and was reviewed favorably at CNET and highlighted in this blog. There's just one small wrinkle: Parallels Access costs $79.99 per year per computer. That's a pretty steep price even if you have only one desktop. Fortunately, there are alternatives that give you very similar functionality for a much lower price: $0. One of them, TeamViewer, is free for personal use. And it's available not just for iPad, but also for iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone 8. (On the desktop side, it's compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux.) Let's see how you can get your iPad (or other mobile device) connected to your PC without spending a penny.