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August 14 2012

How To Track Your Lost iPhone? – Guest Post

How to Track your Lost iPhone

How to Track your Lost iPhone

You may come across different emotions, such as anxiety, anger and so on when you lose your
iPhone. Well, rather than moping over the loss, you should act wisely to make sure that you find
your lost iPhone. Consider the following steps which can help you locate and recover your lost
iPhone.


Lodge a Police Complaint

The first and foremost thing you should do when you lose iPhone is to inform and report the
nearby police station about your lost phone. Either they may recover the iPhone, or in case if
they cannot recover the phone, at least the documentation comes always handy to you to deal
with your tracking process. You can take help of the police if you get even a slightest hint on
your lost iPhone.

Update Your Employer

If the iPhone you have been using is actually issued by your employer, then you should keep
informed them soon after the theft/misplace has taken place. You can do this even before lodging
a report at the police This will help your IT department to try to block the access to any outsider
to view your personal and business information saved on the lost iPhone.

Change Passwords

To ensure that the thief does not get a chance to access your accounts wherein your passwords
of the accounts have been stored on your iPhone, you should change all your passwords, such as
email account, bank accounts, and so on.

Update Your Service Provider

You should keep your service provider informed on the theft/loss so that they will block your
SIM temporarily/permanently as per your request. However, most of the service providers ask
for police report documentation before they take any further step.

Monitor and Track Your iPhone

You can take help of the inbuilt GPS feature of your iPhone, and monitor and track it time to
time through an authorize online account. Apple offers its users with an app known as Find My
iPhone which lets you track the iPhone through GPS. Additionally, there are other third party
mobile monitoring apps available in the market which can help you monitor each and every
activity that takes place on your lost iPhone including calls, SMSs, browsing history, GPS
location and so on.

Also, these mobile monitoring apps let you lock the phone and wipe the data remotely. Once
you find the GPS location of the phone on a Google map, you can take help of the police and

recover your phone. However, meanwhile it is a wise idea to wipe of the confidential data from
your phone remotely. Mobile Spy is one of the best mobile monitoring apps available in today’s
market.

If you can follow the above mentioned steps thoroughly, you will surely succeed in tracking
and recovering your lost iPhone. In case, if you cannot recover the phone, at least you can
delete important personal and business data stored on your iPhone using Cell Phone Spy apps. But make sure you seek help from
the police while recovering the phone instead of going alone to recover the phone from the thief,
because the thief may be dangerous that he can harm you physically. Hence, it is a good idea to
take help from the police.

About the Author

Sharon Stouffer is an active blogger who loves to blog on latest Mobile Technology. She is
passionate about the new and innovative mobile applications


August 09 2012

5 Smartphone Apps Every College Student Needs – Guest Post

College Smartphone Apps

College Smartphone Apps

College students connect with the world using their smartphones. Visit any college campus, and
you’ll see flocks of students glued to their iPhones and Android smartphones. They use these
mobile devices to entertain themselves, connect with their friends, and even make their academic
lives easier. If you’re a college student looking to improve your performance in school, you
might be pleased to know that there are tons of productivity, organization, and information apps
made for you. Since you probably can’t download them all, here are five you should definitely
check out:


1. WikiMobile Encyclopedia

This app for Android phones, also known as Wikipedia Mobile for iPhone users, gives you
access to millions Wikipedia articles. You could use your phone’s web browser to search for
new information on Wikipedia, but this app uses up considerably less data. So, you don’t have
to worry about using it as often as you need to. Just don’t try to cite an article from WikiMobile
Encyclopedia in one of your papers. Most professors still don’t consider Wikipedia to be a
credible source.

2. Flashcards

Paper flashcards are a thing of the past. Next time you have to memorize words and concepts
for one of your college classes, try out the Flashcards app. It lets you easily create, organize, and
flip through flashcards, and it even allows you to mark and come back to flashcards as needed.
Right now, this app is only available for iPhone users. However, AnkiDroid Flashcards is a great
alternative for Android users.

3. Class Buddy

If you have trouble keeping track of your schedule as a student, Class Buddy can help. This
Android app helps you keep track of your course schedule, assignment deadlines, grades, and
exams. It also lets you import and export events to and from Google docs, your Google calendar,
and your email account. If you’re an iPhone user, iStudiez is a very similar app you can check
out, which can do pretty much everything Class Buddy can.

4. Evernote

Evernote is a lifesaver for many disorganized, busy college students. It lets you capture, save,
and organize pictures, notes, documents, pdfs, and websites in one place on your phone, and
it lets you share whatever you save with other Evernote users. Best of all, you can access
everything you save to Evernote on your phone from your computer and vice versa. So, you can
easily study the lecture notes you typed up on your laptop from your phone. This app is available
for most mobile devices.

5. Chegg

There’s no need to pay so much for your textbooks, thanks to Chegg. This app lets you search
for the cheapest textbooks online and even lets you scan the barcodes of textbooks to help
you find them on online stores. Chegg also allows you to rent certain textbooks each semester
for a fraction of what it would cost you to buy them. This app can take a lot of the stress out
of preparing for your classes. Right now, Chegg is only available for iPhone users, but users
of other types of smartphones can still access what Chegg has to offer on their computers by
visiting the Chegg website.

College is meant to be both a challenging and fun time in your life. Don’t let the stress of
difficult classes and other responsibilities get you down. Try out the apps listed above to become
a more efficient student, and enjoy your college years. Once you get in the real world, you’ll
definitely miss them.

About the Author

Mariana Ashley is a guest blogger who writes about technology, stress, and self-
improvement. Professionally, Mariana works with college students to help them find the
right academic programs at online schools and brick-and-mortar schools. She also spends a
lot of her time researching and writing about online education trends. You can reach her at
mariana.ashley031@gmail.com if you have any feedback you’d like to share.


August 08 2012

Going The Extra Mile By Improving Laptop’s Battery Life – Guest Post

Saving Your Laptop's Battery Life

Saving Your Laptop’s Battery Life

Although manufacturers of laptops, like Dell and other companies, try their best to offer
the longest battery life possible, sometimes we find cases when laptop batteries don’t
last as long as we expect. Have you ever scrambled to find a power outlet because your
laptop was losing battery? Were you in the middle of an important conversation when
your laptop warned you of low battery? Well most of us have faced this problem at some
time. The portability is lost if the battery life cannot see the laptop through for even a few hours at a stretch.


So what are the main culprits responsible for low battery life? One major problem
is relayed to the unnecessary programs running in the background. Other common
culprits are always active Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections. So how can we handle these
miscreants?

  • Identify and uninstall programs that you do not use. Also, once a program has
    served its purpose you can quit it. Such programs are not only eating up your
    laptop’s memory but are also eating away the battery.
  • Many people are in the habit of working with maximum brightness on their
    laptop’s screen. This also contributes to low battery. You can dim the brightness
    to the level that is appreciable to your eyes. Most laptops these days can
    automatically adjust the screen brightness.
  • Do not leave a battery dormant. Whenever you do a full charge make sure to use
    your laptop’s battery. This exercise is good for the health of the battery.
    Whenever you need to take a break from work, try to put your laptop on hibernate
    instead of standby mode. Hibernate does the exact function as standby and is
    known to save battery life.
  • Whenever your wireless or Bluetooth connection is not in use, turn them off. An
    active connection is known to drain the battery. This rule is applicable to other
    software and hardware like USB or mouse that are not being used.
  • Try not to hinder the airflow of the laptop. Keep it in a ventilated place. The more
    cramped up the space is, the harder it is for laptop fans to function. In such cases
    the fans derive their power from the battery and hence affect the battery life.

When you are on low battery and there is no power outlet in sight, then never multitask.
Prioritize your work to make the most out of your battery. Windows OS gives you an
option to manually optimize your laptop’s power. Mac OSX is known for handling
defragmentation automatically, which is a life savior for your battery.

Even after addressing the above issues, if you continue to face battery problems, then
you can add more RAM. Maybe you are running memory intensive programs that will
perform better with additional RAM. If your work demands multitasking, but your laptop
is unable to support you, then you must revisit your requirements and run them against
your laptop’s configuration. Maybe it is time for you to invest in a more efficient laptop.
To make the most out of a laptop, a good battery life is the most important ingredient.
Thus working to improve the battery’s efficiency is extremely important.

About the Author

Edwin Sun is a devoted technology and gadgets blogger, and has written articles on various topics, such as cell phones, tablets, laptops, printers and monitors. I am always willing to share ideas with those who want to learn more about the new cool gadgets.


June 25 2012

Why Apple Came up with a Less Creepy Way of Tracking App Use?

apple tracking ios apps iphone app tracking ios apps ios apple app tracking

Why Apple came up with a less creepy way of tracking App use

Known as something of a technological control freak, Apple is famed for the rigid nature of the software platforms which it creates for its devices, but could it be ready to relax the reins a little following the news that it is making changes to the use of app tracking on the iPhone and iPad?

Current Tracking Methods

At the moment each Apple device running the iOS platform and thus each user, is endowed with a 40 character Unique Device Identification (UDID) code.

The UDID serves a number of purposes, but it is possible for third-party application developers and Apple itself to track the ways in which specific users harness applications.

This information is incredibly useful as it allows firms to develop software and experiences based on how apps are being used rather than simple guesswork. This adds plenty of value for developers who have to pay a license fee to create software for iOS.

However, from the point of view of the users there is an argument that this kind of tracking is a little bit creepy and invasive. If a firm is aware of precisely what aUDID is doing at all times it will build up a detailed picture of how you are using your iOS gadget. This raises the obvious concern that users’ privacy could be breached.

It is worth pointing out that Apple never officially sanctioned the use of UDIDs in this way, because it gives the impression that developers have free reign over the information provided to them automatically when users access their applications.

CNET notes that Apple did not always enforce its calls for firms to stop tracking usage, which suggests that it was not as interested in protecting user privacy as it might appear on the surface.


Realistic Expectations

The Wall Street Journal reported in early June that Apple is actively seeking to change the UDID system in order to make it easy to deliver app tracking to its developers while still giving users the extra privacy and security that they require to use its devices in confidence.

This news emerged ahead of the World Wide Developers’ Conference 2012, which is one of the major events hosted by Apple each year and is generally used as a launch pad for major products and services.

While iOS 6 was unveiled during the event, the promise of a less stringent and easy-to-track UDID system did not come to fruition.

Apple did not shy away from discussing the UDID complaints held by some, as it said that it would not be allowing apps through its approval process unless the developers confirmed that they would not be tracking users via this method.

Overall, it talked down the importance of UDID and the tracking issues, which means that it could go either way in the future in relation to this topic.

Potential Solutions

Many users were hopeful that Apple would be able to get rid of UDIDs, which in even their most innocuous form could be harnessed by less honorable developers to track and essentially spy on users. While this has not been forthcoming at the time of writing, there are various proposals covering just how Apple might implement an alternative system.

Some believe that Apple could easily create an anonymous user ID, by which individual devices and users would not be identifiable while still giving the company away of differentiating between each of the products which it produces.

As you might imagine, this would ultimately result in developers not being given specific information about those who are downloading and using their apps, thus removing the temptation to misuse this data.

In the end it is necessary for anyone who picks up a connected device to part with some personal information, divulging their usage habits and preferences via the internet to any number of companies. If you read more on high speed internet on the Broadband Expert website, you might discover that even your browser will keep a record of your history, which it is down to you to delete or manage.

Apple is not alone in lacking principles when it comes to privacy, but individuals should be aware of the risks they face and the price they have to pay for using technology.

About the Author:

Roxanne is a blogger and writer who gets behind tech issues associated with the smartphone market and portable computing in general. You can read more on high speed internet on the Broadband Expert website and also get information on breaking industry news through his work.

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June 12 2012

Best Apps for the Perfect Night Out – Guest Post

For an amazing night out there are a few things you need; a great bar, great friends and some great apps (of course). With the growing success of smart phones, more and more people have them and are finding new ways to use them. There are some great apps available for download at the moment ñ all of which can make your night out that bit more amazing, and all the more fun too!

Best mobile Apps Night Out1 social apps mobile apps lifestyle apps iphone apps

Best Apps for the Perfect Night Out

1. Taxi App

Taxi app is the perfect app for anyone who can never find a taxi on their way home, or who always spends a fortune taking the black cabs instead. Taxi-app tells you where your nearest taxi firm is located, and evens lets you book one.

 social apps mobile apps lifestyle apps iphone apps


2. Mixology

For those who like to be a great create on their nights out ñ this great mixology app will let you tell the bar tender just how you want him to make your drink! You can use it for nights in too of course!

mzl.orlxshhx.320x480 75 social apps mobile apps lifestyle apps iphone apps

3. Girls night Out

For all the women reading this article, this app is the perfect companion for planning your big night out! Full of great recommendation and drinking game ideas ñ youíll be the best organiser around!

mzl.ckebetmf.320x480 75 social apps mobile apps lifestyle apps iphone apps

4. Brewski Me

In desperate need of a beer, but not sure where youíll find the nearest one? This app will point you in the right direction. Itís so simple and easy to navigate, youíll even be able to use it when youíre drunk tooÖ which is good!

mzl.jzyeuqjm.320x480 75 social apps mobile apps lifestyle apps iphone apps

5. Bars and Pubs

Another app dedicated to pointing you in the right direction ñ this app will point you towards the best rated bars, pubs and restaurants in your local area. Perfect for those nights out in unfamiliar cities!

mzl.ajiktmpi.320x480 75 social apps mobile apps lifestyle apps iphone apps

6. Instagram

Who doesnít love taking a few photos on a night out? Instagram is a great, nifty little photography app that lets you take great little vintage-inspired images, and then upload to facebook or twitter. These photos can make even the drunkest of nights appear classy and sophisticated!

mzl.xnvocmpt.320x480 75 social apps mobile apps lifestyle apps iphone apps

7. Tonight

Bar and restaurants might not be strictly your sceneÖ but not to worry. This app can point you in the direction of live music and live gigs in your city or town ñ complete with band posters and YouTube videos of the acts playing (so you can see if itís up your street).

mzl.eogxhydd.480x480 75 social apps mobile apps lifestyle apps iphone apps

8. Shazam

Hear a song playing in a club, but not sure who sings it? Hold your phone up to the speaker and wait for this awesome app to tell you exactly who sings it and what it is called! Perfect for those ìIíll remember it tomorrowî (but you never will) moment.

mza 4963734166430706197.320x480 75 social apps mobile apps lifestyle apps iphone apps

9. Adult Dares

Going out for a stag or hen party? Or just feeling playful? This app is full of ìadult-daresî that will keep you and your friends entertained for hours. Just be careful who you try some of them on though! A police man might not be up for giving you a piggy-back!

mzl.qxbgqvyv.320x480 75 social apps mobile apps lifestyle apps iphone apps

10. Comic Touch

This app is great for those who like to have something to break the ice with new people. You can take photographs and turn them into mini comic book strips. Itís great for getting the conversation started ñ and they make for some awesome profile pictures the next day!

mzl.vcvkjzwd.320x480 75 social apps mobile apps lifestyle apps iphone apps

About the Author

Jonny D loves nothing more than a night out with friends, and making sure he has all the best apps to make the most of the evening! Jonny currently works for Ladbrokes.

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March 08 2012

Making a Mackbook Pro that Kills Apple’s for $790 Less – Part 3 Finishing Up

Moving your Mac’s Home Directory to another Hard Drive

upgrade macbook pro for hundreds less tutorial part 3 system preferences move mac home directory move home directory mac maintenance

This is the 3rd article of a 3-part series on Making a Mackbook Pro that Kills Apple’s for $790 Less

Read the entire series:

  1. Buying Your Macbook Pro for Far Less Money
  2. Adding an SSD Drive and Upgrading your Memory to your Macbook Pro
  3. Moving your Mac’s Home Directory to another Hard Drive

OK, so you have your new hard drives and ram in your computer, so you’re done right? Almost, but not yet. The SSD drive has fairly limited space, so you probably don’t want to store your data there. You’re going to need to move the Home directory to the mechanical hard drive.

  1. Turn your computer back on.
  2. Open Finder and copy the Users folder from the SSD drive to the SATA drive.
  3. Open your System Preferences app.
  4. Click on the Users & Groups icon under the System heading.
  5. Click the Lockicon in the lower left corner of the menu to unlock this user profile
    1. You will need to enter your system password to continue
  6. Right click on your profile and select Advanced Options.
  7. Click the Choose button next to the Home Directory field.
  8. Browse to the Users folder that you just pasted to the SATA drive.
  9. Click the OK button.
  10. You will be prompted to restart your computer. Do this.
  11. When your computer comes back on, your Home drive will be relocated.
  12. One last thing, delete the old Home drive from the SSD drive.

Video Tutorial – See it in Action

The video tutorial below shows you all of the steps listed above.

This is the 2nd article of a 3-part series on Making a Mackbook Pro that Kills Apple’s for $790 Less

Read the entire series:

  1. Buying Your Macbook Pro for Far Less Money
  2. Adding an SSD Drive and Upgrading your Memory to your Macbook Pro
  3. Moving your Mac’s Home Directory to another Hard Drive

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March 07 2012

Making a Mackbook Pro that Kills Apple’s for $790 Less

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Everybody knows that the Macbook Pro is the most beautiful, powerful, and stable laptop in the world (for Mac or Windows). The problem is that they are not cheap and Apple’s limited upgrades are ridiculously overpriced.

If you’re willing to invest a few hours and a little elbow grease, you can get yourself a real Macbook Pro that will crush anything that Apple sells and save hundreds of dollars.

The best specked Macbook Pro that you can buy from Apple has the following: (I’m pricing the 15 inch model because the 17 inch model is barely a portable laptop.)

CPU: 2.5 GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7

Memory: 8 GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM — 2x4GB

Storage: 256 GB Solid State Drive

Display: 15-inch Hi-Res Antiglare Widescreen Display

Price: $3,299.00 (Yikes!!!)

macbook pro pricing 11 upgrade memory upgrade macbook pro upgrade hard drive save hundreds on mac refurbished mac customize macbook pro

The system I’m going to build has the following specs:

CPU: 2.5 GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7

Memory: 16 GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM — 2 x 8GB (Twice as much as Apple offers.)

Storage: 128 GB Solid State Drive + 750GB Serial ATA Drive (That’s right, TWO hard drives.)

Display: 15-inch Hi-Res Antiglare Widescreen Display

Price: $2,509.00 (That’s $790 less!)

There are three keys to saving all of this money:

  1. Buy a Refurbished Macbook Pro (More on this below)
  2. Buy the Superior upgraded components from a better, cheaper vendor
  3. Install the upgraded components yourself

price chart upgrade memory upgrade macbook pro upgrade hard drive save hundreds on mac refurbished mac customize macbook pro

Step 1 – Buying your Machine

Isn’t Buying a Refurbished Computer Risky?

No, not at all. Apple’s refurbishing program is amazing. They reinstall the Operating System, replace any worn out parts, and fully inspect the entire machine. Then, they cover it with the exact same one year warranty that the ones in the store get. You can purchase Apple Care (extended warranty) too; if you’re a worry wart.


So what’s missing?

The super cool, cardboard Apple box and about 30% of the price. Seriously, that’s it. If you can possibly stand to skip that magical 10 seconds of unboxing, you get a great deal.

Step 2 – Buying the Upgraded Components

Once you have the machine, you need to order your upgraded components. You can shop around, but save yourself some time and go to either NewEgg.com or Amazon.com. They have the best combination of price and selection you’ll probably find.

Memory – Apple maxes out at 8 GB for a $200. You can buy a 16 GB kit for $140 upgrade memory upgrade macbook pro upgrade hard drive save hundreds on mac refurbished mac customize macbook pro . (Twice the memory for $60 less.)

Storage – Apple includes a 750 GB mechanical hard drive, but will upgrade you to a 256 GB SSD for a whopping $500. Here’s where we’ll get creative. You can buy a 128 GB SSD upgrade memory upgrade macbook pro upgrade hard drive save hundreds on mac refurbished mac customize macbook pro . But 128 gigs is not enough storage, right? No, it’s not. Don’t forget, we still have the 750 GB drive that came with the machine. (If you let Apple do the upgrade, they keep the original parts.) We’re going to use the SSD for the Operating System and Applications and put the mechanical Hard Drive in place of the DVD drive. This gives us the speed of the SSD and the massive Hard Drive storage for a fraction of the cost.

What Should You Do Next?

This is the 1st article of a 3-part series on Making a Mackbook Pro that Kills Apple’s for $790 Less

Read the entire series:

  1. Buying Your Macbook Pro for Far Less Money
  2. Adding an SSD Drive and Upgrading your Memory to your Macbook Pro
  3. Moving your Mac’s Home Directory to another Hard Drive

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February 08 2012

Amazon Kindle Fire – High Functionality for the Price

Amazon Kindle Fire Product Review

The Amazon Kindle Fire launch was one of the most anticipated in recent years, creating a lot of buzz within the online community. After a few months while the dust has settled and users are becoming experienced with the workings of the tablet, here are some observations on the device touted as iPad’s 1st real competitor. With a very pleasing design, beautiful video touch screen with stunning brightness and color contrast, as well as the sturdy build of the device without being too heavy or bulky, the Fire has a lot to offer to anyone looking to economically go mobile with diverse, unique functionality.

Instant Reader

One of the features that sets the Kindle brand name apart from everyone else is its original claim to fame: the ability to instantly download print media from the Amazon store and be able to get down to the business of reading. The Kindle Fire gets very high marks for the ability to enjoy full-color magazines as well as the wide selection of books available on the Amazon site. In fact, for the wide range of content available, including literally millions of downloadable movies, TV shows, music, eBooks & magazines, as well as browsing capabilities, the Kindle Fire ranks very high.


Kindle e-Reader

For an extra price (under $100), you can purchase this tablet that reads like real paper, touting no eye strain or glare, even in bright sunlight.

Kindle Apps

Amazon’s Appstore includes a wide array of free app selections. Because Kindle Fire has capitalized on its former claim to fame as a reader turned mobile device, magazine and newspaper apps are helpful for current print subscribers to browse the most recent edition on the tablet, or in some instances the app provides the ability to purchase a single month or annual subscription (including 90-day trials) right through the app.

Of course, free apps enabling you to access your Netflix, Hulu Plus or Flixter accounts make this device your own personal TV screen. Amazon Prime members also get free streaming capability from Amazon On Demand, plus discounts on all Amazon content.

There are also useful apps available for purchase for a nominal one-time or monthly price, such as Notepad for taking notes, and Calendar scheduling tool.

Cloud Storage

With unlimited free cloud storage available, there’s no need to worry about what your device is currently storing, and a backup of all the content you purchase through your Amazon account is available.

Cost

Definitely a huge positive for anyone who has compared pricing on both the Kindle Fire and the iPad, as well as other available options. Most people agree that the $199 price tag is well worth it for the functionality. Add the eReader for a total price of $278.

Some issues to be aware of:

  • The Silk Browser tends to get lower marks for most people until it learns the browsing habits of the user.
  • The battery does very well with most functions, but users are advised to keep the device plugged in during streaming, as it tended to drain the battery.
  • Kindle Fire can connect to many available WiFi connections so that you can download, stream, access email or browse the web. However, the Fire does not have 3G capability for a truly mobile experience.

With lower price, this device is missing out on some of the functionality that the iPad delivers, such as a larger screen, camera, storage capacity, and the largest App Store available.

About the Author

Ruth Suelemente is a freelance writer who is well-versed on a variety of topics, including a high speed internet and related technologies.

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February 06 2012

How the Nook can Save Barnes & Noble’s Retail Stores

Turning a Negative into a Positive

Nook save barnes and noble stores

Barnes & Noble is locked in a vicious battle between people going to their brick and mortar retail stores and the increasing shift to digital content. One of the biggest problem the company faces is competition from within in the form of the Nook e-reader. (Or is it???) This has become such an internal issue that they are considering separating the businesses into separate legal entitities.

On the surface it seems fairly obvious that every ebook purchased on the Nook (or Kindle or iPad) is yet another nail in the store’s coffin. That doesn’t have to be the case. Last weekend I was in the store with my wife’s Nook Tablet and I saw a few children’s books that I wanted to get her. I wanted them for the Nook though, because our daughter loves when we use the “Read to Me” feature. It was such a pain in the neck to see whether each book was available in the Nook store. It all dawned on me that if the two interests worked together it could be a huge boost to both sides. Not to mention the benefits to customers like myself.


A Solution to Their Problem

Offer a significant discount, say 20%, on ebooks purchased from inside the store. This means that if I am in the store, connected to their wifi network and purchase a book or anything else, it will be cheaper than if I do it elsewhere. (Not in the store.) They can make it more appealing and convenient by placing a quick-code on any physical book that is also an ebook. For instance, let’s say the latest John Grisham book is also available on the nook; Place a sign on the display that says “Type in ABC123 into your Nook to get 20% Off“. Then, the physical store where you are at would get a referral/affiliate fee for that transaction. Not to go off topic, but think how much easier this would be using QR codes if they would have included a camera. There are a number of other extensions of this that could drive revenue back to the stores. After each purchase they could send you an alert with a “today only” coupon for a free drink at the cafe or $10 off a $50 purchase. How about giving an in-store only credit to people who purchase $100 of digital content?

Benefits for Everyone

If you think of the previous ideas; there are three stakeholders involved: Nook Owners, Brick & Mortar Stores, and The Nook Store. Ideas like these would have simultaneous benefits to all three parties.

  • Nook Owners Save money on the books they want Use their purchases to earn other discounts Get out of the house Brick & Mortar Stores Use the tool that has been bringing people AWAY from the store to pull them back in
  • Add more value to Nook owners who are also store visitors Increased foot traffic and impulse purchases A small slice of the growing digital pie
  • The Nook Store Increased value proposition over iPad and Kindle (no physical content browsing) An incentivised sales channel Increased impulse purchases

What Do You Think?

I would love to hear your thoughts in the Comments below.

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February 05 2012

Will the London Olympics Offer New Moves for Smartphone Users – Guest Post

London olympics smartphone apps

2012 promises to be an exciting year in the UK. The London Olympics will begin in July and as the smartphone market becomes increasingly important to marketers it is likely users will expect treats and tricks to help them keep up to date with news and perhaps have a go at some of the sporting events themselves. The significance of the ‘London’ brand has already been hinted at with the release of a picture of a new BlackBerry 10 designed for the UK market and code-named ‘London’. So in terms of games, apps and features, what can smartphone users expect to tie in with the biggest event of the sporting calendar that is heading to our shores?


1. VisitBritain app. The focus isn’t just on London for the Games, instead the whole of the UK is expected to get a boost with sporting events taking place at stadia across the country and along with that an influx of tourists and cultural events via the Cultural Olympiad suggesting focus won’t just be in the capital. Manchester Agency Apadami and Hiss Design have created the official VisitBritain tourism app. Exclusively available for Samsung devices – an official sponsor of the Games – the app will help people find events and attractions to see around the country, using the Olympics as a hook.

2. VisitBritain aren’t the only ones with an app. The history of the games using Augmented Reality is explored with ARworks app via Junaio. It allows users to look at venues of the 2012 Games with pictures and stats. It compares them to venues from 1896 including Athens and Sydney and users can track the progress of the Olympic Flame, starting its journey in May. The app also utilises GPS so users can find out about venues and events closest to them. Olympic Navigator is available for both iOS and Android.

3. Those travelling around London will be pleased to know they will still be able to browse the web and use their apps during the Games while using the Underground. Transport for London has announced 120 Underground stations will be fitted with Wi-Fi from July. Users may well be charged for the service and it is unlikely it will extend to tube carriages themselves.

4. Visa’s announcement earlier this year of developments using Near Field Communications (NFC) enabling payments via smartphones and mobile devices suggested the launch will coincide with the London Olympics. The financial firm has approved Samsung, LG and BlackBerry for the new wireless payment method at 185,000 contactless payment terminals in shops. Users pay on a secure SIM and linking it with the Olympics furthers the brand of the UK as an ambitious one for technology. It also makes it easier for tourists to make payments.

5. One of the most frustrating things for smartphone and mobile users is when the networks get clogged. It is still a nightmare trying to send a text on New Year’s Eve. A new piece of kit called SmartSwitch is aimed at network operators who want to reduce network congestion during the Olympics, when thousands of visitors will be online at the same time. The firm behind the kit, Roke Manor Research, says SmartSwitch makes it easier for visitors to use different Wi-Fi connections, reducing the risk of a major shock when they download cell data and risk running a huge bill when roaming. Sending notifications and keeping users up to date with their connection will put them back in the driving seat when finding information when in the UK, they claim.

The Olympic Games have not been held in the United Kingdom since 1948 and technology has progressed a great deal in the intervening years. Back then hardly anyone owned a television set let alone a multipurpose handheld entertainment and communications device. Even in the four years since the Beijing Olympics of 2008 mobile phones have advanced at a rapid pace and this could be the first time that this emerging world of apps and augmented reality could be put to full effect for visiting spectators from across the globe.


January 16 2012

Would you Browse the Net While Driving?

What will Connected Cars Mean to the Future of Driving?

Internet connected cars

Once upon a time, cars were simply a vehicle to get to and from a destination. One of the best gadgets cars had included were windscreen wipers which allowed you to drive in wet weather conditions. Then there was central locking which meant all of a sudden you didn’t have to run around and lock the doors manually. The amount of technology integrated in new cars and the number of added extras available over the past decade is seriously impressive and exciting. You can now watch TV, DVDs or play on a games console in your motor. The latest integration takes technology in cars to a new level by making the Internet and Google Street View available in vehicles.

The integration of the Internet and Google Street View in cars is a huge development, albeit a potentially dangerous move. Google’s dominance is expanding every day and this move only confirms them slowly exerting their influence in different industries.

A concern which comes with this technology being available in cars is the potential for accidents due to drivers attempting to browse the internet or use Google Street View whilst driving. This alluring add-on would distract their attention, possibly more so than using their mobile while driving, which was banned in the UK. It is also banned to access the internet via your hand-help phone while driving, so it will be interesting what the law has to say about this latest move by car manufacturers and Google.


German car manufacturer, Audi, recently announced an ‘Audi Connect’ initiative which included LTE broadband internet in the new Audi A8. The broadband is faster than 3G and DSL technology. Although currently only a prototype of the A8 has been made, the creative brand say they will construct the vehicle this year. Audi leasing is therefore a very popular choice in 2012. Their constant drive (excuse the pun) to construct impressive and high performing vehicles is exceptional.

Another popular option for leasers this year is Land Rover leasing and Mercedes-Benz lease deals. Land Rover are not only powerful cars, but also very stylish and have a strong presence on the road. Mercedes are another German car manufacturer who are allegedly working very hard in 2012 to improve in-car technology. There are rumours of semi- autonomous car being produced to make life easier for drivers.

It’s clear to see that there are going to be big changes made in the car industry in the following years. Manufacturers are working on exciting changes which will maximise the performance and practicality of cars.

About the Author

Dilpreet is a freelance writer and internet marketing consultant who covers various topics online, from cars, technology, gadgets and skincare.


January 11 2012

Find Your Favorite Café Using “Find My Café” Apps – Guest Post

Find your cafe iphone apps

Traveling is a key factor in some of the busier jobs of today. Many jobs make traveling a must have before even accepting the job. Traveling for coffee drinkers can sometimes lead to a disaster. Thankfully, Smartphone companies have their fellow coffee drinkers in mind, and have created various applications that allow one to find coffee shops that are located close to wherever they might be.

Keep the love of coffee close, but keep ones Smartphone closer.

WhereIsMyCoffee App – Australia


When traveling down under, it may seem very easy to get distracted with all the Barbies, and dingoes; but finding a good cup of Joe shouldn’t be hard. With the WhereIsMyCoffee application from Android Mobile, is a free application which acts like a coffee GPS system. Simply type in ones location, and tap the ‘search’ button, and almost like Google Maps, coffee locations will pop up on the screen. When taking a closer look at the different locations, there will be directions on how to get there, and what other customers have thought of said store.

Image001

FindMyCafé– Hong Kong

While pursuing the streets of Hong Kong, one may find themselves wrapped up in the exciting sights and sounds of the city. Though Hong Kong is known for tea, there are plenty of coffee shops to browse while reading through travel packets. With FindMyCafé@hk for the Android, one is able to search with this free app, the whole of Hong Kong for the closest (and best), Starbucks. This application lets the user search for Starbucks, and gives detailed directions on how to get to said location. It also shows any other café outlets along the way.

Image003

CoffeeShopLocator– iPhone/Apple

This is one of the best applications for Smartphone users. With over 25,000 coffee shops stored in its history, (these shops include name brand stores like Dunkin’ Donuts and Tim Horton’s, and small independent coffee shops) finding a cup of coffee is just a finger tap away. The app gives the basics: address and phone number (which one can use to call and place the order ahead of time, and just waltz in and pick up the drink) for finding great coffee shops.

This app is also special, in a sense, as it allows users to upload new locations so other fellow coffee drinkers can enjoy great coffee. The ability to upload photos and give feedback on the stores is another great add-in bonus. Keeping up with good coffee just got better.

So whether traveling out of the state, or country, keeping up with ones coffee fix is no longer a safety hazard. As long as there is Wi-Fi, and a charged battery, coffee lovers can keep getting their drink on. Even if it’s in the neighborhood that one grew up in, with added features like rating, and uploading pictures, no one suffers a bad, coffee-less day with the expanding usage of technology in phones.

Image005

Abour the Author

The post is contributed by Davis Miller; he is a traveler, observer and coffee obsessed. Apart from that, he is a tech enthusiast who always remains on Cloud nine. Visit his site for kiezen nl and Koffie automaat.


January 09 2012

January 08 2012

Apple Unveils New App for Cars: iCar – Guest Post

Viewer

Apple is without doubt a very excellent brand. This is a company that has been able to franchise in numerous other niche industries successfully. Swatch was the first company to incorporate its technological features with the Mercedes brand in order to create a great new app for drivers. At the present moment, Apple is also contemplating on driving the same road by launching a great app referred to as the ‘iCar’. This is a great technological step that the company will take and it will incorporate the latest advancements that have been made in order to make fuel as clean as possible together with the brilliant store concept that the company boasts of.

At the present moment, all that the public and consumers of Apple can do is speculate because no official statements have been released by the company. However, reliable sources have been able to investigate the matter and reveal that iCar will incorporate the world class technological features that Apple uses in iTunes. This is so that customizations can be made possible with regard to most car brand models. In simpler terms, consumers will have the ability of downloading the specifications of the particular car in question from the iCar store which will be displayed on the dashboard. This will as a result enable consumers to build the features that they want displayed electronically from nothing and customize it to match their exact needs.

According to the source, the app will also have a booster for WiFi which will ensure maximum broadband experience while driving. In addition to this, the stereo will be fitted with 6 speakers and an iPad or iPhone port for the connection of these devices as well. All the multimedia features that are popular amongst Apple fans will be readily available to them once iCar is launched. In general,this is a car that will be simple to deal with when it comes to its operation plus fun to drive since this is what Apple is usually all about. This is owing to the fact that Apple is a company that has been in the industry for a while now and has succeeded in providing its client base with cutting edge technological devices that offer excellent entertainment & infotainment services.

Well, let’s get back to reality. The iCar might never get to be implemented since the details involved here are stacked high against its inception. This does not however prevent many Apple enthusiasts from fantasizing on what iCar might look like. One of the most common features that car fanatics &Apple fans assume that iCar would have is only one button that would be used to operate the car.This is a feature that nevertheless a feature that leaves a lot to be desired because starting, stopping,switching gears, etc are functions of a car that require numerous buttons.

In conclusion, the iCar will not be introduced in the market any time soon (or ever) since the functionality of such a car is relatively illogical.

About the Author

The post is authored by Michael Clark, he is nature lover who wants to save environment from brutalities of human beings. Apart from that he has great interest in eco friendly technologies. Visit his site for Golf Cabrio and polo gti.


January 03 2012

13 Things Smartphones Made Extinct

And Five More Endangered Species

13 things smartphones made extinct

Just a few short years ago smartphones were expensive gadgets that only a few geeks had. Flash forward a few years and it seems like everyone has a smartphone now. This proliferation did not happen without any casualties though. A host of commonplace items came to an untimely demise and the clock in running out on a few more.

Without further ado, here is the list:

PDAs / Palm Pilots – I remember how excited I was to have my address book and calendar with me all the time. Well they’re built right into my phone now, so that beloved business partner has been downsized.

Filofax organizers – If the PDA seems ancient, then the Filofax is downright prehistoric. These were big paper calendars, phone books, to-do lists, and business card holders that powerful business types used to guard with their lives. Well now they are just a few apps on their crackberries.

Little Black Books – See that last two items.


Point & Shoot Cameras – Well, they may not be dead yet, but they’re dropping off pretty quickly. We’re rapidly approaching a world where people have two cameras: a DSLR and their phone. Why would I need a low quality camera when I already have one in my pocket everywhere I go all day long? Plus, my phone can geotag, edit, , SMS, and post my pictures the moment I take them.

Pocket Video Cameras (Flip Camera) – See Point & Shoot Camera.

Calculators – Unless you work in an accounting department, you probably have not used a real calculator in who knows how long.

T9 Text Entry – Remember taking 10 minutes composing a text message? 7-7-7-7, 5-5-5, 6-6-6, 9 spells SLOW. Thank God for QWERTY!

Wallet full of kid pictures – Instead of 4 beat up school pictures I have 1,000 pictures in my phone. Oh yeah, did I forget video?

MP3 Players – iPods – I barely ever use my iPod any more, because I have iTunes, and Pandora on my phone.

CD Players – Blame the MP3 player for this one, but the smartphone just piled on.

Portable GPS Devices (or asking for directions) – Why would you buy some clunky device when you already have a GPS device that is connected to your Address Book and Google at the same time?

Instant Messenger – I blame texting, Twitter and Facebook on the demise of the instant messaging, but let’s face it, a lot of that takes place on phones any way. The smartphone may not be the culprit, but it’s definitely and accessory to the crime.

One Foot on a Banana Peel

The rest of the list was probably killed by all cell phones, but smartphones are driving the last nail in the coffins.

Landline phones – With our mobile phones become more and more entrenched in our lives, the added expense and limited utility of a landline phone makes less and less sense each day.

Pagers – Not sure who exactly killed this, but the demise of pagers and rise of smartphones have a pretty close proximity.

Endangered Species:

There area few other items that are still hanging on, but may disappear in the next 3 to 5 years too.

Hand-held gaming devices (Nintendo DS and Sony PSP) – Gaming on the smartphone platforms gets better and better every day. This seems like something that smartphones will easily replace.

Paper Books and Magazines – These will probably be canabalized more by tablets than smartphones, but they’re in danger.

Physical Credit Cards – Do I really need to carry around eight plastic cards that do noting more that store a 16 digit account number? Add your supermarket cards to this too.

Keys – Well, car keys any way. Within a few years every new car sold in America will at least have the option of being unlocked and started from a phone app.

Remote Controls – This just seems like a job for a far more capable device.

What did I Miss?

If you think I was off the mark on any of these or left out some things, add your two cents in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear from you.

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December 22 2011

12 Technology Innovations I want to see in 2012

Where is my Flying Car?

12 Technology Innovations I want to see in 2012

As 2011 comes to a close and I’ve been reading all of these “The Year in Technology” round-ups. There were a few nice innovations, I still have a few things on my wish list. Believe it or not, most of them are not of the flying cars ilk; rather the why doesn’t this exist yet variety.

2012 Technology Wish List

Without further ado, here’s the list:

  • Smartphone batteries that stay charged for a week
  • Laptop batteries that stay charged for a full work day (10 HOURS)
  • Facetime phone calls to work without wi-fi (It’s a freakin’ mobile phone!)
  • All of these “Cloud” storage services to give a reasonable amount of data. (No, 2-5 gigs doesn’t cut it!)
  • Evernote to get some calendar/scheduling capabilities (Do I really need a separate To Do app?)
  • A true internet TV (Apple’s polish, with Google’s flexiblity, and a Logitech remote)
  • Wireless cable boxes
  • A Macbook Air with a convertible/removable keyboard that runs an iPad emulator
  • Webcams and microphones built into TVs (Sofa Skype anyone?)
  • A car stereo that syncs with iTunes over wi-fi when it’s parked in my Garage
  • For people to stop acting like “The Cloud” is anything more than the same old servers we’ve been using for decades with a fancy new buzzworthy name.
  • A legitimate residential broadband service that is not the Phone or Cable company.
  • The New York Mets to get bought by an owner with a budget and a clue. (Not technlogy, but I thought Santa might be reading this.)

That’s it. Not that much to ask, right?

Enough about me, what technological innovations would YOU like to see in 2012? Leave your wishlist in the comments below.

Happy New Year!!!


The Highest Rated Card Reader Apps for Apple Devices

Getting Business Cards into your Contacts has Never Been Easier

Highest Rated Card Reader Apps

Business cards are tools which allow business professionals to communicate with each other. The storage of these cards has over the years become a burden, transforming the once helpful contact tools into troublesome stacks of papers. Most people are likely to lose a number of these cards, which ultimately leads to wastage. In recent years, the rise of virtual business cards has grown in use for a number of reasons. Virtual business cards are easier to store, organize and access the contact tools. Virtual business cards also discard the need to carry business cards around, therefore allowing users to access these contacts from virtually any location. Several card reader apps have been developed for mobile devices, allowing phone users to always have their virtual business cards while on the go. Here are the highest rated business cards for Apple devices.

ABBYY Business Card Reader app

The ABBYY Business Card Reader is an intelligent app which identifies the contact information on business cards including the first and last names on the card, company and job title and email signatures. The app is supported by iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4. It supports 17 languages. The app does a count down before taking the images of business cards and this can lead to shaky images and scan errors. The app is available for $9.99.


CamCard business card reader app

CamCard is one of the highly rated business card readers, because the app does it all. The app allows users to capture, store, organize, export and sync their business cards with outlook. The quality of the captured card images is superior and the recognition speed is also faster. Slight delays are experienced when taking images with the CamCard app. However, the app captures high quality images which makes up for the delay in capturing images. The app supports multi-language recognition. The free version allows users to add 3 contacts to their address books, while the full version priced at $6.99 allows limitless contact additions.

CamCard business card reader app

WorldCard Mobile business card reader app

The WorldCard Mobile business card reader is supported by iPhone 3GS and higher models. The app automatically recognizes the date the business card was captured and automatically sorts the cards according to fields for storage on the phone’s contact list. The app does come with a few glitches involving the scanning of business cards, other than that it functions as required. The Lite version accommodates 3 card exports for the first week and goes down to 1card export weekly. The full version is available for $5.99.

WorldCard Mobile business card reader app

ScanBizCards business card app

The ScanBizCards business card app goes the extra mile and on top of scanning business cards it also adds contacts to the phone’s address book. The app is supported by iPhones and iPads as well. The cards are scanned and stored instantly, without the need for manual verification of each card. The app is available for $4.99.

ScanBizCards business card app

Card Munch card reader app

The Card Munch app is designed for iPhones, combining aspects of human intelligence and vision technology. The application allows users to take snapshots of their business cards and manually verify each card for accuracy. The verification process however takes time, because the user has to manually look through every card before saving. The app stores a back-up of the user’s contacts, to ensure that the user never has to worry about losing a business card. The application functions on a pay per use basis, and the user is charged one credit for the storage of each card. The free version of the app allows users to save only 5 business cars, while the full version priced at $2.99 allows users to save 10 cards.

Card Munch card reader app

About the Author

Costea often writes about social media, technology and blogging tips. He also blogs about coupon and discount offers such as vistaprint promotional codes and psprint discount code. Currently, he is writing for, Weightlosstriumph a blog that offers vistaprint online coupon codes and psprint discount code.


December 02 2011

Electronics Gadgets Christmas Gift Buying Guide

Make all of the gadget lovers in your life happy this year

Overview: This is the big list of Electronics and Gadgets Christmas gift suggestions. Find the perfect Christmas present for any techie, geek, or nerd in a variety of categories in every price range.

Best Electronics and Gadets Christmas Gifts

Christmas Gift Gadgets by Category

This list of gift ideas is separated by categories. There is an approximate price next to each gift to help you find the one that fits your budget.

Electronics

Electronics can usually steal the show on any Christmas morning. Besides the fact that they are so cool and fun, setting them up also fills that dead time between unwrapping presents and waiting for food. There a lots of cool electronic gadgets available in any price range for the techie in your life.

Powermat Wireless Charging Device All of those gadgets in our life make quite a mess with their chargers. Well why not ditch them all? The Powermat Wireless Charger allows you to just drop your devices onto a pad and have them charge without hooking up any wires.

Price: $125

Kindle EBook Reader Know someone who loves to read? Are they a commuter? Well the Amazon Kindle is the perfect gift. They can carry tons of books, magazines, and newspapers in their pocket.

Price: $250

Super Portable Pico Projector Want to share your pictures and movies on the go? Then you need a Pico projector. These cell phone sized projectors can display images and videos from your computer, camera, iPod or other device anywhere.

Price: $299

Music

Let the audiophile in your life do more than ever before with their music. Here is a range of music products that will let you take your music with you or spread it around your house.

Apple iPod nano with Video Camera This super tiny iPod now has a really good video camera built into it. So now, not only can you take your music, pictures, and movies with you, you can capture new movies too.

Price: $135

Roku SoundBridge Music Streaming System The Roku Sound Bridge will allow that special someone to stream the music from their computer, pandora, or internet radio stations wirelessly to the bathroom, basement, garage or back yard.

Price: $165

Photo and Video Devices

Everybody loves pictures and videos. The latest crop of devices allow you to capture, create, display, and share your memories like never before. Here is a range of cool gift ideas for beginners through experts in just about any price range.

Eye-Fi Share 2 GB Wi-Fi SD Memory Card This two-in-one miracle goes in your camera and stores all of the photos that you take. After that, it can wirelessly send them back to your computer or up to the web using wi-fi.

Price: $69

Digital Photo Frame After taking thousands and thousands of pictures, why not show them off? A digital photo frame allows the photographer in your life to proudly display a collection of their favorite images.

Price: $50 – $100

Flip Ultra HD Camcorder The best way to capture videos is to have a camera with you. With the size of the Flip UltraHD Camcorder, you can carry it with you at all times. The video quality is very good and the user experience is so simple you won’t believe it.

Price: $175

Canon Powershot SD780 Do you know someone who needs an incredibly good and incredibly small point and shoot camera? Well look no further than the Canon Powershot SD780. This thing is like a chubby credit card that shoots great pictures and sharp video.

Price: $199

Canon PowerShot G11 Maybe your nerd has outgrown their tiny point and shoot camera, but still wants something that they can take with them. The Canon G11 has most of the quality and features of a DSLR at a fraction of the size. It allows fully manual control and has a mount for a good flash attachment.

Price: $449

Canon Digital Rebel DSLR Do you have a serious photo buff on your gift list? Well they’re probably ready to move up to a Digital SLR. The Canon Rebel is the most affordable way to get into a DSLR. Great quality and usability all in one.

Price: $575

Canon VIXIA HG21 Camcorder If your Martin Scorsese needs a little more quality and control than a Flip camcorder, than you might want to look at one of the mid-range Canon camcorders. They have powerful zoom lenses and great quality without breaking the bank.

Price: $699

Video Games and Toys

2009 has not been a huge year in video gaming innovations. No new consoles, not many blockbuster new games either. My suggestions for the gamer in your life cover some old reliables. These are all great additions to the video gaming arsenal for any household. Plus, with the growing capabilities for playing, or streaming music, photos, and videos, you’ll get more action than just blowing up aliens.

Remote Control Helicopter All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. A remote control helicopter will help relieve the stress of crunching all those boring old numbers

Price: $25

CALL OF DUTY 4:MODERN WARFARE Sometime you just want to blow something up. Call of Duty will let you get your frustrations out in a safe and fun way.

Price: $45

Rock Band Game Let’s face it, all geeks and nerds want to be rock stars. Well this will let them, if only for a few hours. Jam out with groups of friends and family members.

Price: $99

Nintendo Wii Console Nintendo Wii is great for family members from 2 to 102. No other system will provide more hours of fun for everyone.

Price: $150

Xbox 360 Console Microsoft Xbox 360 provides hours of gaming and entertainment options.

Price: $199

PlayStation 3 Console Video games, streaming media, BlueRay DVD movies, what more could you want from a home entertainment console?

Price: $299

Computers and Accessories

Who couldn’t use a new computer? How about an additional inexpensive one for the household? What if your gift recipient already has a computer? Then you can grab them the perfect accessory or upgrade to help them get the most out of it.

Pink Tranquility Laptop Bag Just because they’re carrying computers doesn’t mean that women want their laptop bag to look ugly. Pick up a stylish, feminine laptop bag for the lady geek.

Price: $25

Targus Netbook Case Wrap up that new netbook in style. Let a fancy new bag add some sheik to that geek.

Price: $25

CORSAIR Flash Voyager 8GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive Carry all of your files around with you. Portable Flash Drives serve 101 different uses.

Price: $25

CORSAIR Flash Voyager 8GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive Image

Kingston 8GB USB Flash Drive Carry all of your files around with you. Portable Flash Drives serve 101 different uses.

Price: $45

Griffin PowerMate/USB Multimedia Controller This USB device allows you to control aspects of just about any program by turning the know or pressing down on it. Aside from providing a unique user control capability, it just looks amazing on any desk.

Price: $45

STM Bags Small Loft Laptop Bag (Chocolate/Orange) Just because we’re men doesn’t mean that we want to carry our computers around in ugly bags. Why not spruce the place up with a cool, stylish laptop bag.

Price: $55

Logitech Cordless Desktop Wave Pro Any computer can be improved by adding a solid keyboard and mouse. After all these are the two things that you touch all day long.

Price: $79

Memory Upgrade If you know someone with a computer, you know someone who wishes it were faster. Help them speed up their machine with a memory upgrade.

Price: $

Memory Upgrade

Once You Know, You Newegg

Logitech diNovo Keyboard and Mouse Combo Want to add killer form and function to your desk, get a high-end keyboard and mouse setup. Your fingers and eyes will thank you.

Price: $299

Super Portable Netbook Computer Have a student or globetrotter in your life? Why not get them a tiny, but powerful computer that can go anywhere and do anything that they need?

Price: $300 – $400

Tools

As soon as you get a healthy collection of electronics and gadgets, you know what comes next. You have to assemble everything. Then what? That’s right, something breaks. Well, here are some super cool and valuable tools to keep your electronic empire humming along smoothly.

Leatherman 830146 Core Pocket Multi-Tool The ultimate do-everything tool for any geek. A Leatherman tool will allow you to fix, build, or disassemble anything.

Price: $49

Television Watching

Some of the coolest tech gadgets to come out this year revolve around extending your television viewing. Want to get your media from your computer to your TV? Easy! Want to stream online video from Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube to your TV? Done! Set your geek free from the whims of the cable company with one of these awesome TV extenders.

Roku HD Player Media Streamer The Netflix Media Streamer hooks up to the TV and allows you to click and watch streaming Netflix movies instantly. No more waiting around for your new disks to arrive.

Price: $100

Western Digital WD TV HD Media Player Hook the WD TV to your television and plug in a USB drive with music, photos and videos and you have a great home theater. The WD TV allows you to stream your media right onto that huge, beautiful TV and get out of the computer room.

Price: $99

Apple TV with 160GB Hard Drive This is probably the most simple way to get all of your music, photos, and movies onto your TV. If it’s in your iTunes Library, then you can have it on your TV in a snap.

Price: $229

Slingbox TV Streamer If your geek is on the road a lot, why not let them watch their favorite TV show and Sports teams from anywhere. The Slingbox will stream their home TV and DVR to them over the internet or 3G phone.

Price: $275

Other Resources for Saving Big on the Perfect Christmas Gift

Don’t See something you like here? Well here are some places that you can find really great deals on electronics and gadgets.

Save a Fortune at Amazon.com

Amazon has an product line that goes on forever. There is always something on super-terrific clearance sale. You can find giant discounts on products at Amazon.com. The links below list products that are at least 75% OFF in their respective categories.

amazon-75-off
75% Off Books

75% Off Cameras and Accessories

75% Off Computers and Accessories

75% Off Video Games

75% Off Electronics and Gadgets

Find the Best Selection of Computer Gear at NewEgg.com

My absolute favorite place to find the best prices on computer and electronics is Newegg.com. They have tons of great deals every day.


Once You Know, You Newegg

Get Great Deals on Macs and their Accessories

MacMall and ClubMac have a lot of deals on Macs, iPods, and other gear.


Apple Sale


ClubMac - The Online Mac SuperStore

Get the Absolute Best Prices on Cables and Accessories

MonoPrice.com has the best prices on cables for everything. Seriously, I got a good HDMI cable and a mini-display port to DVI cable for $15 with tax and shipping included. NEVER buy your cables from Bestbuy!

If you are looking for other arrangements of electronics and gadgets Christmas gift suggestions take a look at one of these other lists.

Complete Electronics Gadget Christmas Gift Buying Guide

Best Chrismas Tech Gadgets for Women

Best Chrismas Tech Gadgets for Men

Find the Best Christmas Gadget in Any Price Range


October 29 2011

Building the Ultimate Media Center PC on a Shoestring Budget

 

Super Cheap Computer for your Living Room

Overview: Learn how to build an amazing Media Center PC on a shoestring budget in this series of tutorials.

 

Building media center pc

Every day there are more and more sources of amazing media content available over the internet. This is great if you don’t mind sitting alone in your computer room watching a monitor, while listening to some tinny little speakers. What if you want to settle into your couch with your friends and family and watch on your big screen TV and house shaking surround sound system?

Well, I’m going to show you just how easy it is to get all of your favorite Video, Music, Pictures, and Social Media out of the computer room into the middle of the living room. Best of all, you’ll see how to do it for as cheap as possible.

What We Will be Doing

My goal is to build a small computer that can handle all of your home media needs for Less Than $400. (Much less in some cases.)

This little workhorse needs to meet a few very important requirements:

  • Small – It should make your Nintendo Wii look like a big fat fatty.
  • Low Energy Consumption – Since it will be on all the time, it has to be efficient. (10 – 20 watts)
  • Stream 1080p HD Video – It has to be able to handle full-HD video with no lags or stutters.
  • Surround Sound – It has to be able to take advantage of a modern 5-1 (or better) surround sound system.
  • Expandable Storage – Our libraries of Music, Photos, and Video are constantly growing, so we need enough room to hold it.  (See backup server below.)
  • Function as Backup Server – Since it will have all of this storage, it should function as a backup destination for the computers the house. (Windows, Mac, and Linux)
  • Remote Access – I should be able to securely access and control it from other computers inside and outside of the house.
  • Power to handle other stuff – There are a bunch of other cool things that can be done with a little home media center. This machine has to have enough power to handle them too.

Selecting the Hardware

You can use anything from a full-blown new computer that costs $1,000 or more on down to an old laptop that you have lying around to build your media center pc. The goal of this project is to have a small, inexpensive system; so that rules out the high-end new stuff and a lot of the old stuff. However, one of the ways that you can bring this project in cheaply is to reuse some parts that you may already have. (More on this later.)

The best choice of a small inexpensive machine is one of the net-top computers that have come out recently. You can find dozens of them for a few hundred dollars.

My Build

Asus EB1021 Nettop PC

I went with an Asus EB1021 net top pc, which cost $309. It has a relatively new AMD E-350 processor that runs circles around the current generation of Intel Atom processors. The onboard video card also outperforms the Intel Ion video cards.The case is about the size of 2 or 3 DVD cases stacked up. While tiny,  it is jam-packed with a boatload of ports:

  • 6-in-1 Memory card reader
  • 4 USB 2.0 ports
  • 2 USB 3.0 ports (very fast)
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • 802.11 N wifi
  • HDMI &VGA video ports
  • Digital S/PDIF & RCA audio (7-to-1 surround sound)

Choosing an Operating System for your Media Center PC

This is a big choice for setting up your machine. Each OS has its pros and cons, so the choice is entirely up to you. Here are some of the pros and cons of each OS:

Windows – You will have the widest choice of apps to pimp out your system. Con – it’s expensive (over $100).

Mac/Hackintosh – If you want to run OSX on your machine, you can look around for instructions on the web. Pro – It’s free and it’s a Mac. Con – It’s tricky and quasi illegal (you wouldn’t let that stop you, right?).

Linux –  It’s free and reasonably easy to use now. Con – Not as many cool apps as Windows or Mac.

I went with Windows 7 Professional (64 bit) because it was already installed on my machine and it met my requirements.

Going with a Fully Built System

Media center pc assembled

Most people will not want to assemble their PC and install the Operating System, so I picked a couple of fully functioning systems that you can use if you want to skip over a few steps. Here are a few recommendation for very nice prebuilt nettop PCs.

 

If none of these strike your fancy, choose from even more options. Nettop PCs at Amazon

Next Up – Assembling the PC and Installing the Operating System Now that I have my shiny new machine it’s time to get it up and running. Stay tuned for the next part of this series.

This is part one in a six part series on Building the Ultimate Media Center PC on a Shoestring Budget. View the rest of the series:

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October 18 2011

iMessage and Find My Friends – Eradicating all but Apple – Guest Post

Imessage find my phone review

Most of the tech pundits blogging about the iPhone 4S and iOS 5 seem to overlook the significance of Apple’s nod to all matters social. Aimed to rival Blackberry’s infamous BBM Messenger, iMessage is Apple’s first foray into the IM market. With the promise of unlimited messaging, iMessage could cement Apple’s position at the forefront of the smartphone market with iPhone 4S contracts.

Find My Friends’ is another feature that Apple has added, and yet one that hasn’t attracted much publicity. Enabling you to track the location of your friends, the possibilities offered by this feature are huge. Of course, the technology behind it is already well-established, although this is the first time it’s made an appearance on the iPhone.

Firstly, iMessage. It will work with any device running iOS 5; so whatever model of iPad, iPhone (from 3GS and upwards) or iPod Touch you own will be compatible. iMessage will allow you to exchange texts, videos and photos using 3G or Wi-Fi, continuously and without interruption, thanks to iCloud. The messaging is unlimited if you’re contacting anyone else with a compatible Apple device, and is conveniently built into your Message app.

Not only will you be able to track your messages with a friend or group, but you can even see when everyone else is typing. On top of this, the innovative new helper Siri is able to text for you; just ask it to text your mates, and you have truly hands-free communication. Being able to continue conversations from where you left off is simple but sensible stuff, and puts iMessage above and beyond the limits of SMS/text messaging. You can receive delivery receipts, secure encryption and even save yourself some hard-earned cash on the cost of texts. Sorted.


Find My Friends, however, is a little different: you’ll be presented with a list of your friends and a map pinpointing where they are. It may prove to be the case that this feature is only utilized by worried parents, trying to track down their teenage progeny who were supposed to be home by ten. However it can, as Apple have stated, allow you to ‘meet up with friends at an outdoor concert [or] see when your out-of-town guest has finally made it past baggage claim.’ It’s an important function; one that allows you to connect with friends in an indirect way, without constant back and forth communication. There are certain privacy concerns, but if you employ the right settings you’ll be keeping track of those people close to you; more importantly, you’ll only be tracked by them too.

It’s unclear whether this latter feature will be used as much as the former: Find My Friends is not being presented as a social networking tool, so who knows how customers will use it. All in all, the fact that it restricts this social function to Apple users is most probably the greatest limitation, but it does have the potential – with iMessage – to eradicate the need for anything else. In the right hands, and with the right gadgets, the possibilities afforded by these features are endless: could Apple deliver a deathblow to the competition with iPhone 4S mobile phone contracts? Don’t bet against it.

About the Author

Simon Drew writes for Best Mobile Contracts a UK based mobile phone website.

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