Monday, December 28, 2009

Fun and interactive way to digitize old VHS tapes.

If you have a stash of old VHS tapes containing long forgotten back yard fun or high school memories, you may be able to steal the show this holidays season by bringing them back to life in a modern way that will get people talking.
A new company called Pixorial, Pixorial.com, offers a simple and interactive way to transform piles of VHS tapes into an exciting and lively viewing experience. For $15 a piece, Pixorial will digitize VHS tapes or other analog video media and put the content on a password protected part of its own Website according to the New York Times.
Once there, users will have access to Pixorial editing tools which will allow them to cut and slice through the footages as a film director would. That is just the beginning, as the user can invite friends and family to not only watch the videos, but add their own comments in full resolution on any given scene in real time.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Free solutions for digitally recording TV programs.

Citing the Wall Street Journal in a response to a reader's question, in today's digital world, people have more options when it comes to recording free TV programs without the hassle of using a VCR and keeping VHS tapes.
The first option that comes to mind is a TiVo digital recorder box, a very popular device that when connected to the TV's antenna, will allow you to watch free over the air programs.
Another option that may surprise a lot of people, resides in your Windows based computer if it came equipped with the right tools. The tools in question here are a built-in TV tuner found in most middle to high end Windows based computers and the accompanying software available in PCs running Vista Home Premium or Vista Ultimate or the newer Windows 7. With that combination, users should be able to watch TV shows on their computers and record them on their hard drive for later viewing.
And if your PC did not come with the built-in turner, all hope are not lost as you can buy an add-on TV turner provided the fact that most Windows versions come with the software needed to watch TV on your computer.
As you may have noticed, we have been only talking about Windows based computers as Macs based ones, do not come equipped with that option. But the good news is that there are some hardware and software add-on in the market for Mac users.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The need to know in retailers' return policies.

With the busy shopping season upon us, stores' returns policies may be the last thing in shoppers' minds. To the opposite, it seems that everyone is preoccupied to get the best deals possible on that much coveted item either for oneself or a loved one. But equally important is the need to know about the retailer's return policy. This is where things get very interesting as different retailers have different policies and various rules are applied by retailers to various categories of items with those same rules changing from time to time with some exceptions made during the holidays.
Complicating matters, is the surge of Online commerce which brings a new set of confusion over what items bought Online can be returned to a physical store and under what circumstances.
Whether Online or in store, the general rule of thumb is to do your homework and check the store return policy.
A recent trend among retailers is to allow purchases made during November or December to be returned through January. But in general, as they become more popular, electronic items like computers and digital cameras, are subject to more restrictions with a two weeks return window and a restocking fees for opened items.
And this time of year being the season of giving, gift recipients may be faced with additional challenges when it comes to returning gift items. When it comes to policies regarding the return of gifts, "many retailers will provide refunds only to the person who originally made the purchase, while the gift recipient even with a gift receipt, can only make exchanges for merchandise, or receive a store credit or gift card" according to the NYTimes.
For more sampling for stores return policies, see the article in NYTimes.com.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Boxee software to be made available in a set-top box.

For many tech savvy who want to watch the limitless Internet videos on their PCs in a visually friendly format resembling a TV directory, Boxee software has been one of the most popular choices. The only downsize has been that users has to install the software on their PC or Mac and settle with the smaller screen of their computers. Or maybe if they were savvy enough, they may have been among the few that were able to install the software on Apple TV, Apple's set-top box.
But now the company behind the software want to change all that by making the experience more mainstream in a collaboration with a D-Link, a Taiwanese manufacturer of networking equipment.
The collaboration announced earlier this month, will result in the manufacture of Boxee own Television set-top device that will allow people to browse and directly watch Internet videos on their TV sets with no need to download or use their computers.
The new device is set to go on sale next year with both companies hoping to keep the price affordable at under $200.

For more, see NYTimes.com

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How to save the content of a Windows alert box.

When facing a Windows alert box in the middle of a computer session, the natural reaction may be to try to write down the content of the message for when talking to a technical support person later on. But such messages are often written in not too friendly technical language and they can be too long to jolt down when most likely you are going into panic mode.
Fortunately, there is a handy tip to help solve the problem the next time it occurs.
According to the New York Times, all you have to do is click on the alert box to select it and press Control-C to copy the content and the next step is to open a working word-processing program or e-mail message and press Control-V to past and save the content.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Google announces free WI-FI holiday giveaway at major airports.

Earlier this month, Google announced an initiative to provide free WI-FI access in 47 major airports nationwide during the holidays season and through January 15th 2o1o.
The initiative is through a Google partnership with those airports and a host of other service providers like Time Warner Cable, Advanced Wireless Group and many others, and that is the reason why it does not cover every single major airport in the country. Because of that, it may come as a big surprise that none of the New York major airports is part of the project, so are Chicago O'Hare, LAX in Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St.Paul and Dallas-Fort Worth. But as a result of Google's project, Seattle and Burbank airports have decided to to offer indefinite free WI-FI from now on.
On top of the free WI-FI giveaway, Google also announced that it will extend the free Wi-Fi offer to Virgin Airlines America flights within the continental United States, PC World reports.
Google's initiative comes in the heels of Yahoo announcement of a free WI-FI access giveaway for an entire year on Times Square in New York.
Google's offer does come with some attempts to direct people to use some of its services like Google Checkout and the Online photo storage and sharing site Picasa. Here is how: When they are about to take advantage of its offer, Google is encouraging users to donate any amount of money to three preselected charities and it would match any donation up to $250,000.
Google has also announced a photo contest in which people are invited to submit photos taken using the free WI-FI, and the best ones will win some prizes but without any specifications what the prizes may be.


For more, see PCWorld.com

Friday, November 27, 2009

Google to introduce automatic caption to YouTube videos.

As if being already the world biggest video site isn't enough, YouTube owned by Google, has announced last week that it is adding automatic caption that will bring text captions to many videos on the site.
YouTube has already several hundred thousand videos with close captioning but they are mostly from broadcast networks and some other professional Web sites. What the new initiative will achieve, is to allow anyone who upload a video on YouTube, to use the technology which is called "auto-timing", to upload as well a text file of the words spoken in the video and have them automatically turned into captions by Google.
The underlying technology for auto-timing is the same as the one used for Google Voice service which is used among others things, to transcribe text messages into voice messages.
For now, Google is adding captions on its own to videos from selected channels like the ones from PBS, the National Geographic and some Universities. The reason given for this gradual roll 0ut is that Google recognize that the technology isn't perfect and that time is needed to get feedback from the video owners and the viewers before being released to the public at large.
Also, the automatic captions will be available in English only for now, but can be translated to 51 languages using Google Translator service.

For more, see news.Yahoo.com

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Retailers are fighting back against "friendly fraud."

Already faced with one of the toughest economic climate in a long time, retailers are not leaving any stone unturned in their quest to stay afloat. They are doing a thorough review of all aspects of the way they do business and are implementing measures they think will allow them to whether the storm. In that context, chargebacks, one area that has drawn little scrutiny in the past, is getting a second look.
Chargeback is the practice in which customers call their credit card companies to contest a charge on various grounds like: they never placed the order, the item was never delivered, or the wrong item was delivered etc. What happens next, is that the customers get their credit cards refunded for the amount of the order and the merchant get fined $100 for the incident. A you may imagine, a lot of those claims were bogus ones from some dishonest shoppers and in almost all of those instances, the merchant was left holding the bag. In good economic times, maybe a lot of merchants would have found it not worth their time or their resources to try to go after those authors of chargebacks. But in today economic environment, nothing is to small when it comes to cutting costs.
One way retailers are fighting back against chargebacks, is by using the services of companies like BadCustomer.com who has created a database of customers who have practiced chargeback in the past.
After signing up with BadCustomer.com, retailers can enter credit card numbers of potential customers in the database and get an instant response. If it is a positive, they can inform the potential customer about their findings, and deny the transaction, saving themselves from future losses. The customer whose card is rejected under those premises, has the option of calling BadCustomer.com and ask why they were on the list in the first place and maybe have a chance to have their name removed they have a good reason. Or, if they choose so, they still can pay using other methods like cash, checks or debit cards.
Another source of past abuses, is merchandise returns which has seen merchants suffer agreat deal of losses due to unscrupulous customers who would order a product, use it and then put it back in the box and sent it back and ask for a refund.
To combat that practice, some merchants are using methods such as shipping merchandises sealed with a security tape. Whenever the seal is broken in the hands of the customer, it is assumed that the product was used, therefore, if sent back for refund, the merchant will have the option to charge a restocking fees, or a prorated refund based on the condition of the returned product.
Another way for merchants to fight " friendly fraud", is to impose shorter return windows, or to only offer store credits etc.
Overall, in the next few weeks when shoppers will be in a buying frenzy, it doesn't hurt to take a second and inquire about the return policies of the merchants they plan to do business with, as most of them are clamming down on "friendly fraud."

For more, see WSJ.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Google Chrome operating system is unveiled.

Last Thursday, Google unveiled the underlying of its much anticipated Chrome operating system and the early reviews are generally good. According to the New York Times, the new operating system takes its clues from Google recently released Web browser by the same name. For that reason, it will not reside in users computers but rather in the "clouds", the catch name giving to the Internet in such cases. Already, most Internet users rely on cloud computing as the whole concept is called, to access a lot of things like e-mails, photo albums, maps etc. The Google Chrome operating system that was unveiled last week is an early version running on a netbook rather than more powerful PCs. It is at least a year from being offered to the public, and when that happens, it will certainly be restricted to the netbook category for a while. Regardless, the test version unveiled last week, showed an impressive boot time of seven seconds and according to the New York Times, people at Google are promising an even faster start up time once it goes in production. But for now, Google is not saying which PC manufacturer plan to built machines with the Chrome operating system.

For more, see NewYorkTimes.com

Monday, November 23, 2009

Apple announces Black Friday deals.

With less than a week until Black Friday which marks the unofficial lunch of the holiday shopping season and retailers big and small already engaged in a frantic race to lure uneasy customers, Apple is getting into the act too. The maker of some of the most popular electronic devices in the market right now, Apple is not known for giving them away, thanks to a very loyal core group of enthusiasts. Still, the company could not resist the powerful lure of the holidays to stir some buzz. Speaking of buzz, Apple's intention came in the form of a a brief one page teaser on its Web site, announcing the upcoming deals but without any details. Instead, the one page announcement invites users to browse the Apple store and make up their shopping lists and to come back on the 27th, the day after Thanksgiving when the the sale will go in effect. The only one hint that was given, is that shoppers will get to enjoy free shipping for their purchases but without any indication of which ones will qualify for it.
But if the past is any indication, Apple's announcement shouldn't make anyone jump from their seats as the maker of the iPod, iPhone and the likes, has only offered discounts in the 5 to 7 % range.

For more, see Apple.com

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Vizio Black Friday's HDTV deals start earlier.

With Black Friday just one week away, retailers and manufacturers are locked in a frenetic race to offer the best deals imaginable to anxious consumers. And some of those retailers and manufacturers could hardly wait till then to start the discount, for fear that maybe they would loose the boat so to speak on this rare opportunity to score big in these challenging economic times.
In that context, Vizio the television sets maker has teamed with retailers like Costco, Wal-Mart, and Sams Club in offering some earlier very good deals with some starting right now.
Here a list of those deals obtained from techsaver.com, and it is quite impressive:

Costco:

VIZIO Blu-ray Player (VBR110) with free HDMI cable for $99.99, saving you $40*.
VIZIO Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer (VSB210WS) for $199.99, saving you $30*.
VIZIO 32-inch Full HD 1080P LCD TV (VL320M) only $399.99, saving you $50*.

VIZIO 55-inch Full HD 1080P 120HZ LCD TV (VF550M) only $1,199.99, saving you $300*.
VIZIO 32-inch HD LCD TV (VO320E) for only $339.99, saving you $50. The offer is valid from now until November 29, or while supplies last.
VIZIO 40-inch Full HD 1080P LCD TV (VO400E) only $599.99, saving you $100. The deal is valid from December 3 to December 20.

*From November 27 to November 29, or while supplies last.
Wal-Mart:

VIZIO 19-inch HD LCD TV (VA19LHDTV10T) for $178, saving you $30. The deal is valid from now through the end of the year.

VIZIO 26-inch HD LCD TV (VA26LHDTV10T) for $248, saving you $99. The deal is valid from November 21 to November 27 (pictured above).

Sam's Club:

VIZIO 32-inch HD LCD TV (VO320E) for only $339.99, saving you $50. The offer is valid from now until November 29, or while supplies last.

For more, see techsaver.com

Friday, November 20, 2009

Corel Digital Studio 2010 offers basic photo and video editing features for novice users.

For people who shoot and edit photos or videos for a living, Corel Paint Shop Pro is a must have arsenal to have in their tool box. But if you like to shoot, edit and organize photos and videos as a hobby or just for fun, you might not find a value in all the features that comes with it. To those people, there is some good news as the maker of Corel Paint Shop Pro has come with a light version of the popular software. It is called Corel Digital Studio 2010 out this fall and normally retailing for about $100, but it is being discounted for the holidays at $59 on the company Web site until November 23, 2009.
Corel Digital Studio 2010 is according to PC World Magazine, " a suite of applications designed to give novice users, basic photo and video editing features, plus the ability to organize large media libraries, produce photo projects like calendars and greeting cards, and generate videos suitable for upload to YouTube or for burning to a DVD."
But according to the magazine, while its user interface is abbreviated and clean, the software as a whole is not working well and is not very functional.


For more, see PC World.com

Thursday, November 19, 2009

How to transform an old hard drive into a backup or storage unit after an upgrade.


With the holidays just around the corner and the release of Microsoft new operating system Windows 7 a few weeks ago, a lot of people may be thinking about getting a new computer, or upgrade the hard drive in the old one to a bigger size.
One question that will probably come up, is what to do with the old computer, or in the case of an upgrade, to the old hard drive?
Either way, it is never a good idea to just toss the old computer or hard drive for the obvious security reasons. Because, even if you transfer all the files from the old computer to the new one or to the new hard drive, it is common knowledge that almost every bit of information that was stored there, is perfectly retrievable.
With that in mind, you will have a few options that vary in terms of time commitment: The first and less time consuming, would be to store the computer or the hard drive in a safe and secure location; the second option would be to pick a hammer and smash the old computer or hard drive to pieces; the third option would be to give the old hard drive a new life as a backup or storage unit. That last option which allows you to kill two birds with one stone, is what we will be talking about here.
At first, it may sound intimidating for a non techie, but it is a real simple procedure that most people should be able to do on their own. To set the scene straight, there is not a lot fixing to do here, all you need is a hard drive enclosure kit. An enclosure is nothing but a casing that will act as a shell to protect the drive and provide the necessary ports for power and cables for U.S.B. connectivity to a computer.
For a starter, the main thing to be concerned with, is to get a same size model (3.5-inch drive for a PC, or a 2.5-inch drive for a laptop) compatible with the old hard drive.
In doubt about what you may need, several sites like eHow.com, will give you the run down on how to choose a new drive, and how to install it in the newly purchased enclosure.
Speaking of purchase, hard drive enclosure prices start at about $15 and you can get from sites like newegg.com, ultraproducts.com, or tigerdirect.com and some of them even sell an enclosure kit complete with cables an d software to transfer all your data over to the new hard drive before the old one is turned into new use.

For more, see NYTimes.com

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Radio Bookmark is a way to bookmark NPR programs for later listening.


Ever been in your car listening to your favorite NPR program only to be interrupted in the middle of it? Now you have a way to catch up with that same program later when you have time to listen to it, thanks to a device called Radio Bookmark.
The device itself is not new, it has been available for a while as a premium add-on to NPR subscribers only. It is now available for purchase for everyone from the manufacturer's online store, Radiobookmark.com/store for $39.99.
The device looks like a car's remote knob and the way it works is when you are getting interrupted in the middle of a program, you just push a button that will record the time at which that happened. Once you get home, you just plug the Radio Bookmark into your computer and according to the New York Times, "your browser automatically will go to the Radio Bookmark Web page to match up the time at which yo pressed the button against what was playing on preselected local station, and create a list of bookmarks for the programs you marked. After selecting a bookmark, you will be taken to your local station's Web site where you can replay the program."

For more, see NYTimes.com

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Does upgrading to Windows 7 deactivates the license key for any prior version of Windows?

For many people, one of the reasons holding them back from taking the plunge for Windows 7, is the fear of the unknown and the general belief that upgrading to Windows 7 would prevent them from coming back to whatever previous version they owned. The true of the matter is that this is just not the case: owners of previous versions of Windows can always go back to that version if they are not happy with Windows 7 after trying it out, without losing the product key of the of their old versions.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sky Dock allows users to get Sirius XM Radio signal on their iPods or iPhones.

Ever wanted to listen to Sirius XM Satellite Radio in your car but was discouraged by the cost of paying for a new one? Now you have a more flexible option thanks to the iPhone. We know that the iPhone can do a lot of things by way of the multitude of Apps that are added every day, but in this case, some extra help is needed in the form of a separate device called Sky Dock. To get it to work, you place your iPhone or iPod onto the Sky Dock which in turn is plugged into the car's cigarette lighter power port.The built-in antenna pull in the satellite signal and a FM transmitter beams the music or whatever you are listening to, to your car stereo system allowing the signal to go through the speakers. The connection is straightforward, and once it is done, the next step is to download a free app from the iTunes store. The App will allow to control the XM turner using the iPod or iPhone screen interface while the Sky Dock keep them charged.
Beside just listening to their favorite programs, users can tag songs for later purchase at the iTunes store, play games, receive all sort of alerts or follow different tickers.
Access to XM Sirius Radio content is not free, with the subscription costing $13 a month. The device itself retails for $120, but some sites like Myradiostore.com and Amazon.com are offering it on sale for $96.99 and $101.45 respectively.

For more, see the NYTimes.com

Friday, November 13, 2009

How to copy a Windows error message?

Dealing with an erratically working computer with those Window alert boxes is frustrating enough, and when finally you have a technician on the line to assist you with the problem, another hurdle will be to remember what the alert was about. And anyone who has been through that situation knows how tedious it can be to try to jolt down all the technical information contained in the error alert box. According to the New York Times, there is an easy way to copy that information for use later when aid is near by.
To save the error message, simply click on the alert box to select it and press Control-C to copy the content.
Next, open a working word-processing program or e-mail message and press Control-V to past and save the information .

For more, see NYTimes.com

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How to make some photos on Facebook visible to only certain people?

If you have some pictures on Facebook that you would like to make visible only to a limited number of people, fortunately, there is a way to do just that. The place to start, would be the privacy settings on the site.
From there, these are the steps to follow according to the New York Times:
1-Go to the Photos section on your profile page and click the "See All" link to bring up a list of all your photo albums;
2-Click the "Album Privacy" link and go to the album you wish to restrict;
3-Select "Customize" from the drop-down menu;
4-Click the button for "Some Friends" and type the names of friends with whom you'd like to share these particular pictures.
Another way to do it is by choosing to display a limited version of your profile page to certain people.
Here are the steps to achieve that still according to the New York Times:
1-Click the "Privacy " link at the top of your profile page to get to the settings for adding select information to the limited version of your Facebook profile;
2-Once the limited profile is defined, click on the Friends link; viewership
3-Click on the Limited Profile on the right side of the screen to add the names of friends whom you want to see the censured version of your online profile.
All these features and many more privacy features like a new one called "Friends of Friends", are explained in details in the Facebook blog.


For more, see NYTimes.com

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The new Windows 7 lacks a built-in e-mail program.

It's has been less than three weeks since Windows 7, Microsoft much anticipated operating system has hit the market and the reviews are generally good not only from the experts, but from many regulars users.
The advantages of Windows 7 over its much maligned predecessor, Windows Vista, are numerous and include among others, a much secure, faster, reliable, less bloated system.
In order to achieve theose results and either by design or as a consequence, Microsoft has part way with many of the things that people usually associate with a Windows operating system. Among them, the most noticeable thing is the absence of a dedicated preloaded e-mail program in the new Windows 7 operating system.
That alone is quite a change that will have Windows based PCs users, needing to learn to move past the initial sense of lost. And all things considered, the ability for people to use a Microsoft e-mail program is not lost for good, it is just moved from being standard with every new PC built and shipped, to being on demand, in the sense that you can get it, but only if you want it.
Yes, Microsoft is still supporting an e-mail program with Windows 7, only this time users will have to make a separate trip to one of its Web site called download.live.com, to, you guessed it, download it.
On the same Web site, users can download more than just the e-mail program, they can download Windows Messenger for exchanging instant messages, as well as Windows Photo Gallery, Windows Movie Maker and a program called Writer for composing blog posts.
But given the number of free Web based e-mail programs available out there today, to trade off a preloaded e-mail program on a new PC for some speed and less clutter, should not be a bad deal.

For more, see NYTimes.com

Monday, November 9, 2009

Playing Internet radio through Window Media player.

Music lovers who want to listen to their favorite radio stations online but without the extra steps of opening up their browsers and launching the right Web page, but instead want to listen in from Window Media Player, may be able to do just that.
It get even better because not only can they listen to their radio stations of choice from Window Media Player, there are other ways to bypass the browser as well. But without getting ahead of ourselves, lets start with the listening through the Window Media player.
According to the New York Times, "recent versions of Window Media Player let you listen to live streaming radio in a few different ways. You can add a stream you find yourself on a radio station Web site or select one in the Media Guide menu in Window Media Player."
From a radio station Web site, the thing to look for is the "Listen Live" or "Listen Now" buttons on their home pages with a link to listen to the live stream on Window Media Player. Or you can simply copy the live radio stream's URL and past in into the Media Player Open URL box; to bring up Window Media Player URL box, just type Control + U on the keyboard.
And if you have the Window Media Player11 version, "you can find also find radio stations by clicking the arrow under Online Stores Tab and choose radio stations from the menu" according to the New York Times.
From there, you can click on the link for Internet Radios where you can browse and listen to a collection of Online streams, still according to the New York Times.
Microsoft has a guide to listening to listening to Internet music radio with Window Media Player at Microsoft.com.
Another option is offered by Web sites like radiotower.com or shoutcast.com that aggregate Online radio stations from around the world and let you listen to the audio feed through your media software of choice like Window Media Player itself, or those sites players as well.

For more, see NYTimes.com

Friday, November 6, 2009

Travelocity is offering a price difference refund for online booking.

Late last month, Travelocity started offering a price difference refund for online hotel bookings To travelers who book hotel rooms on its Web site then later find the same reservation at a lower price online anytime before the day they check-in, Travelocity is offering to refund the difference between the prices, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Also through December 30, travelers who find a lower booking price, will receive $50 toward future travel booking on the Web site.
According to the Wall Street Journal, travelers who want to take advantage of that offer, would need to send a screen grab or other proof of the lower rate, to Travelocity.

For more, see WSJ.com

Thursday, November 5, 2009

1Cast offers reliable TV viewing on mobile phones.

As most mobile TV is broadcast exclusively through WI-FI connection, the experience can be challenging given the fact that the hot spot coverage can be spotty at best.
But according to the New York Times, there is one broadcaster, 1Cast that "transmits junk-free news not only by WI-Fi, but also over a 3G, or even a 2G network."
1Cast is a free app that works for both the iPhone and Android phones and can be customized to search for videos on topics of your choice.

For more, see NYTimes.com

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Droid, Motorola newest smart phone is a nice alternative to the iPhone.


This past Wednesday, Verizon Wireless introduced the much anticipated Motorola Droid slated to be a serious contender to the iPhone. The Motorola Droid would be the first device to use Google Android 2.0 operating system which is an open source. Describing it, PC World magazine said: "It boasts a beautiful high resolution screen, multitasking apps, free turn-by-turn GPS navigation system and both a touch keypad and hardware keypad."
All those above mentioned five features are a stab into the heart of the iPhone's core given the fact that the iPhone doesn't offer either of them. Take the case of the free GPS navigation that come with the Motorola Droid for instance, not offered by iPhone, it can be had in the form of an app costing $100.
As mentioned above, one of the most attractive aspect of the Droid phone is the fact that it runs on a open source, which allows interesting features to be added to the phone. One of those features is the integration of multiple social networking and e-mail accounts into the phone's contact list.
This means that contact and calendar information can be synced with Microsoft Exchange e-mail services and also other Web e-mail accounts, as well as, social-networking sites like Facebook. The new version of the software has support for Microsoft Exchange, which is huge because it means that corporate users can sync their work e-mail with their phones.
Also, a search function was added to the SMS and MMS messaging feature and the software has been updated to support a camera that includes a built-in flash, a digital zoom, a scene mode etc.
The new Droid will go on sale November 6th, costing $200 after a $100 rebate and requiring a two year contract and a $30 monthly data plan.

For more, see PC World.com

Friday, October 30, 2009

Nokia first netbook, the Booklet 3G will go on sale in mid November.

Nokia, the world number one cell phone maker is set to release its first netbook, marking effectively its entry into this new and hot category of inexpensive devices deigned primarily to access the Internet. Nokia's Booklet 3G as it is called, will hit the market in mid November and the reviews give it a passing grade. Starting with its look, the Wall Street Journal noticed the resemblances between the designs of the Booklet 3G and those of Apple's. One thing that will jump out according to the Journal, is its high resolution screen of 1,280 by 720 pixels, which seems noticeable in the netbook category. Another thing that will make this netbook stand out, is its unusually long battery life which should last a decent 10 hours under normal circumstances. The Nokia Booklet 3G will cost $300 if purchased with AT&T two year Data Connect Plan at the tune of $60 a month for five gigabytes of data. The one nice thing about the AT&T plan is that users are offered the option to choose at all times between a cellular 3G or a WI-FI connection which should ensure almost a constant connection. Without the AT&T plan, the Booklet 3G will cost $600 and Best Buy has started taking pre-oreders this week. The Booklet 3G comes preloaded with Windows 7 Starter and one gigabyte of memory plus the Nokia Social Hub software which is designed to allow its users to track their social medias interests and text messages.

For more, see WSJ.com

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Shoeboxed iPhone app offers an easy way to keep track of receipts.


For people with the need to keep track of everyone of their daily expenses, one of the major obstacles of achieving that may have been laying in the cumbersome nature saving the actual physical receipts. Indeed, it can be tedious, time consuming and require a lot of discipline. Now, thanks to the Apple iTunes store, help has arrived in the form of a free app called Shoeboxed offered by Shoeboxed.com.Shoeboxed is not the first digital receipts keeping solution in the market, Quicken Online Mobile has been offering a way for users to type in their receipts on the spot. What makes Shoeboxed different is the fact that there is no typing involved from the users. The way it works is very simple, according to the New York Times which has tested the app.First of all, you will need to download the free app either from the Apple store, or from Shoeboxed.com and after that, you can start taking pictures of your actual receipts using your iPhone camera;once in the system, the data will be extracted and organized into your private own account. Even if you do not own an iPhone, you still can use the service as long as you own a Web capable phone with a built-in camera. Just like with the iPhone, snap a picture of the receipt and email it to Shoeboxed.com; the service will extract the data and enter it into your safe private account for immediate access. People who lack both an iPhone and a Web accessible phone, can still use the service by mailing all their receipts and even business cards using some provided prepaid mailing envelopes to the company for it to do the scanning and the filing for them. As said earlier in this post, the app is free but the service is not, requiring a minimum $9.95 monthly membership for unlimited uploaded or emailed receipts and up to 50 receipts or business cards.

For more, see NYTimes.com

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Crapware free PCs sold at Microsoft stores.

One of the surprises that greeted customers at Microsoft's newly opened first retail store in the U.S. since its announced come back in the retail business, has been the availability of PCs offered for sale without the traditional load of crapware or unwanted useless software that generally come with such hardware.
And according to Ars Technica, almost all of the traditional PCs makers models are represented in this new experience. But, there is a catch; even if these PCs come free of the usual crapware, there are loaded with Microsoft own software including Windows Live Essentials and Microsoft Security Essentials, as well as Adobe software.

For more, see ArsTechnica.com

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Retailers to use free shipping to lure shoppers for the holiday.

This coming holiday shopping season in the midst of a recession, has all the markings of a buyer's market. Economic experts have been busy all summer watching consumers spending and almost all signs point to some unease when it comes to people opening up their wallets. Well aware of that, retailers from the brick and mortar with an online presence to the ones with online only presence, are gearing up to make sure they don't miss the opportunity to grab their share of the dollars spent online.
To reach that goal, many retailers are reverting to free shipping as their secret weapon.
Already standard with some online retailers like Zappos.com and Shoebuy.com, free shipping is starting to become spread across the board. Retailers giants like Target, who has offered free shipping around the holidays, is starting the offer two weeks earlier this year, starting in November 1st and applying it to twice as many items as in years past, according to the Wall Street Journal.
For its part, Wal-Mart which is locked in an epic battle with Amazon.com, is using it as a knock out punch, even applying it to the already heavily discounted books that it is selling online.
Last but not least, shoppers can expect the number of retailers taking part in the annual Free Shipping Day organized by Freeshipping.org and held on Dec 17, to double from the 250 stores that took part last year;
and the event this year is set to draw first time participants like Toys "R" US.

For more, see WSJ.com.

Monday, October 26, 2009

New Flip MIno HD Premium is more stylish and offers more memory.


If you have ever tried the popular Flip pocket camcorder Mino HD, chances are you liked for its simplicity and for the results it yields. Now, its maker have introduced a new model which is not radical move from the original but rather a nice little makeover with the addition of more memory. The new Mino HD has a eight gigabyte memory, or double the capacity of the standard one, and can store two hours of 720p footage according to the New York Times.
It also has a larger two-inch LCD screen with an improved resolution of 960 by 240 pixels and a new nice feature consisting of a mini HDMI connector that will allow you to connect the device to a HD TV to view your recordings. At $230, the Mino HD is only $30 more than the standard one with double the memory and certainly, double the fun.


For more, see NYTimes.com

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Best Buy and SEARS offer free delivery and set-up for large screen TVs.

To entice people to make the purchase of that big screen TV, Best Buy is offering a free delivery and set-up for TVs priced at $999 more. This new offer comes on top of another incentive from Best Buy of free recycling of your old TV. There is no indication on how long this offer will last, but chances are that given the current economic conditions, it is going to be around for awhile and even expended to others products, or adopted by others retailers.
The latest seems to be already the case with SEARS offering a similar program for certain large TVs.

For more, see WSJ.com

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Newly released Apple's iTunes ninth version, is a major improvement.

Earlier last month, Apple released the ninth version of its popular iTunes software with a major overhaul of the familiar components of the program: the media jukebox, the built-in store and the synchronization feature that moves media and applications to and from iPods and iPhones.

For more, see WSJ.com

Monday, October 19, 2009

Free apps for direct printing from an iPhone or an iPod.

Owners of Apple's iPhone or iPod Touch who love to snap and save pictures with their devices, may been wishing that there were an equally easy way to print those pictures on the go. That wish is now reality with the introduction of some options in the form of apps available from various sources. Even thought there are quite a few stand alone apps that offer to do just that, most of them are not proven to be bug free, or they do not offer direct printing. Two of the most reliable ways to achieve direct printing from an iPhone or an iPod Touch, are offered by two big names printer makers, HP and Canon.
As it is no secret, these two printers makers realized that few people actually take the extra step to print the many pictures that they snap with their camera equipped devices. So, they have a legitimate interest in making printing from some of the most popular mobile devices as effortless as possible. And thanks to wireless printers and iPhone's apps, that feat is just a touch of a button away.
On the downsize, the apps offered by these two giants, only work with their own brands of printers, so to use them, you really have to own a printer made by them, and for Canon's app to work, it has to be in conjunction with some particular printers models, which limit your choices. Let's introduce the current offerings by those two companies and see how they compare.
The HP's iPhone app called the iPrintPhoto is free, simple, easy to use and delivers great results working with an inkjet printer.
To get it to work beside the obvious fact that you have to download it from the Apple store, is that the printer and the and the iPhone have to be on the same WI-FI network. The printer can be connected to its own network or a Mac with the Printer Sharing option turned on. The only downsize is that the app can only print 4x6 size photos.
The other direct printing option from Canon is called the Canon Easy-PhotoPrint for iPhone or Canon iEPP, for short. Like the HP iPrintPhoto, the Canon iEPP is a free application that allow you to print from an iPhone or iPod Touch on a compatible Canon PIXMA printer via a local network.
Contrary to the HP iPrintPhoto, the Canon iEPP gives you more options when it comes to paper types or sizes(from 2.2 inches to letter size.) It is different from the HP iPrintPhoto in the sense that it will give option between choosing borders or bordeless photos and the number of copies you can print( up to 20.)
It is also has more advanced features like automatically finding a printer on a wireless network.

For more, see pcmagazine.com

Friday, October 16, 2009

New iPhone Viper SmartStart app lets you start your car remotely.


With winter just around the corner, the thought of wakening up on a snowy morning and having to make your way to your car, scrap it clean and finally have it started, can make most of us cringe. And even if you already own an electronic remote starter, the range is usually limited to 30 feet with the requirement to be standing and pointing the keyfob in the direction of the car.
Now imagine being able to start your car from almost any distance and from any room in the house regardless of what activity you are engaged in? That thought is now reality thanks to a new iPhone app called ViperSmartStart from Directed Electronics.
ViperSmartStart is an iPhone-compatible remote starter capable of warming up or cooling down a car.
It does not stop there, allowing you to remotely lock or unlock your car's the doors, pop the trunk or even sound the car alarm.
The system can be installed as a new unit for $499 or as an add on to an existing remote starter for $299 and either way, it comes with an annual fee of $29.99.
The ViperSmartStart is also compatible with the iPod Touch but with the range limited to withing existing WI-FI networks.

For more, see Wired.com

Thursday, October 15, 2009

How to delete personal information from an old iPhone model.

With the release of the new iPhone 3G, people wanting to get the new phone, may have been slow to do so just at the thought of what may seem a daunting task of moving all their data from the old phone to the new one. Thankfully for those people, that process is much simpler than they otherwise may think. Whenever ready to make the move, the first step is to go to the Home screen and tap the Settings icon which will bring up the General icon; tap the General icon and scroll down to the Reset option which is located at the bottom of the screen. Once taped with a finger, the Reset area will bring a screen with different options and you will need to look for the "Erase All Content and Settings" option. The taping of that option will get the process started and all your personal data should be completly wiped out. The data wipe out can take up to four hours depending on the amount of data in the memory. That is why is not a bad idea to have the phone on a charger during this last phase of the process.

For more, see NYTimes.com

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Do it yoursell replacement of a laptop hard drive.

For people not afraid to open up their laptops and feel confident to find their way once there, replacing a bad hard drive shouldn't be too complicated.
To get started, these are the tools needed to do the job: a nice variety of small screwdrivers to open the laptop case, and some software discs to format the drive and install the operating system onto it.
The second step is to know your old drive specs so you can shop for one that match.
Those specs to know are: The type of interface used by the drive ( the choice is going to be between an IDE connections or the newer SATA connections.) The other set of numbers to keep in mind are the capacity and the speed of your drive.
All these data can be found at spots as varied as your machine's manual, the manufacturer's Web site, or at the many sites that caries replacement hard drives.
Most of the sites that sell these replacements hard drives, have step by step guides or video tutorials on buying and replacing a defective hard drive. Some of the most known are: The ExtremeTech.com, NewEgg.com , CMS Products.com



Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Motorola Cliq smart phone will synch and stream various sources onto the screen.


Last month, Motorola introduced its first Google's Android phone, the Motorola Cliq scheduled to go on sale exclusively from T-Mobile beginning Nov 2 with pre-ordering for current T-Mobile customers starting from October 19 to November 1. The Motorola Cliq is priced at $199.99 for the pre orders and will likely remains at that price when it goes on sale to the general public, according to Barron.co.
With Google Android as the brain, the phone comes loaded with various offerings from Google like Google Maps with Street View, Google Voice Search, Picasa, Google photos sharing website, Gtalk etc.
But when it comes to e-mail services, the Motorola Cliq offers several options beside Google's Gmail, including Yahoo mail, Windows Live and others.
According to CNET.com, Motorola Cliq comes equiped with a full HTML Google browser, WI-FI capabilities and is Bluetooh and GPS ready. It also has a built-in music and video player, and a 5-megapixel camera with video recording capabilities.
But beside all its nice features, what Motorola is hoping will set the Cliq apart from the competition, is its featuristic interface called Motoblur which key element is it ability to synch information from different sources such as your work or personal e-mail accounts, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other social networks sites and automatically display any updates from those sources, on the screen.
In that new feature, Motorola tries to set the tone in what a smart phone should be: an Internet access and platform device. How true that assumption is going to ring, will depends on how widely and quickly the new phone is adopted before the next new thing comes out and takes all the novelty factor out of it.

For more, see CNET.com

Monday, October 12, 2009

How to read Gmail offline

Earlier this year, Gmail owned by Google, introduced a feature called Offline Gmail that will allow users to check their mailbox while offline.
The way Offline Gmail works a copy of your mailbox with the latest messages in it, is downloaded while you are online, and then stored on your browser for later viewing offline.
The function needs to be turned on by logging to your Gmail account, click the Settings tab and then the Labs tab. From there, click the Enable button for Offline Gmail and hit the Save Changes button.
Once those steps are taken, you can start downloading your mailbox by clicking the new Offline line on the mailbox page.
Web-based mail is great — until you don’t have an Internet connection. To ease the separation anxiety, Google recently introduced a feature called Offline Gmail, which downloads a copy of your mailbox and all the recent messages when you do have Internet access, and then keeps it all available in your Web browser for when you don’t.
To turn it on, log into your Gmail account on the Web, click the Settings tab and then, in many browsers, the Labs tab. Click the Enable button for Offline Gmail and then the Save Changes button.
To start downloading your mailbox, click the new Offline line on the mailbox page.

For more information, go to the Gmail Blog where a video explain the process in simple terms can be viewed.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Starbucks coffee launches my Starbucks App for more convenience.

As if its stores were not ubiquitos enough, Starbucks wants to put a store right in the palms of your hands, for iPhone phones owners at least, in the form of an app. That was made possible with the introduction last month of two Starbucks apps respectively called myStarbucks App and TheStarbucks Card, available at Apple's store. While the myStarbucks App has been released to the general public already, The Starbucks Card is still in the testing phase, mainly in the West coast with yet no release date to the general public. In the other hand, myStarbucks app is available for download free from the iTunes store.
According to the NYTimes," the myStarbucks App, which is usable anywhere, lets you store the recipe for your favorite coffee concoction and to share it with other people." If you need some help with your selection, the myStarbucks App has a flavor selector that will let choose a coffee made with your favorite flavors like earthy or nutty. It also gives you a peak onto the nutritional information relevant to your selection.
And as you would have suspected, the myStarbucks App has a store locator built into it with multiple possibilities like search for the closest store or by the kind of amenities offered ( diapers changing station anyone?)
The Sarbucks card being tested in selected cities in the West Coast, is more intriguing in the sense that it will let people pay for their coffee via a bar code embedded on the phone's screen.Quoting the New York Times, TheStarbucks Card "works just like a regular Starbucks card, in that you buy credit then use it against your orders. When you want to buy a drink, turn on the app, and your screen will show a barcode. The store will scan the barcode and the dollar value of the drink will be subtracted from your purchased credit."


For more, see NYTimes.com

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Using WI-FI as an alternative to cellular networks congestion.

With the popularity of samart phones these days, come a drawback in the form of clogged cellular network connections who more often than not, got more than they can handle.
So to help remedie the situation, some of the nation biggest wireless carriers are offering a temporary relief in the form of WI-FI connection from hot spots. With WI-FI, customers can bypass the carriers wireless networks and make or receive phone calls and deliver or access fast data in areas where they normally wouldn't.
In that regard, AT&T, the carrier with the most isssues with network coongestion, is leading the way with close eely to 20,000 company's accessible hot spots. Those hot spots are freely accessible as part of their monthly data plan to AT&T customers with Windows Mobile phones as well as AT&T customers owners of an iPhone or a Blackberry even though, many of them are not aware of that option.
To find those free hot spots, iPhone owners can download WI-FI locator apps like the free hot spots finder, WI-FI Finder from JiWire which will offer users a list of nearby hot spots based on their locations. Blackberry or Windows Mobile phones owners on the AT&T network, don't have access to such free applications, but for a certain fee, can download apps from either the Blackberry's App World or the Android Market.
T.Mobile, another big wireless carrier, also offers free WI-FI connections to its subscribers as part of their monthly data plan but for only about 10,000 hot spots locations.
But for an additional $10 a month, T.Mobile customers are able to place unlimited calls from any hot spot without exceding their plan limits. Unfortonatly, among T.Mobile 30 WI-FI capable phones, only 18 of them can make such calls and to make it even more restrictive, the Android powered phones are not among them.
Another big wireless carrier, Sprint does not offer WI-FI connections but instead is taking another route in the form of WiMax technology, in conjonction with its partner, Clearwire Communications.
With that technology, Sprint is trying to cover entire cities in an Internet cloud and not just some hot spots. That's why the project is slow going and is rolled out in only a few cities (Baltimore, Las Vegas, Boise Idaho, Bellingham Washington and Portland Oregon) with a few more on the work.
In cities where its WiMax is present, Sprint's actual subscribers would have to pay an additional fee to acces the network and they have the option to pay a $ 60 monthly fee for unlimited connection, or pay by the day to the tune of $10 for a full 24 hours.
Verizon Wireless, the nation biggest wireless carrier doesn't offer a WI-FI cellphone connection even though it is promoting a device commonly called MI-FI that for $100 a month, will enable up to five devices to connect to the Internet. But the catch there is , you have to be near a cellular covered area for the device to work.



For more, see NYTimes.com

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Verbatim InSight is a stylish external hard-drive with high capacity storage solution.


Back in August, Verbatim, the world's leader in media storage technology introduced a new portable high capacity USB Hard Drive called InSight.
Beside the technical specs that we will visit further, the most striking thing about the InSight, is its sleek design that sets it apart from most other storage devices with more conservative looks.
In the functionality category, it is worthwhile to notice a very neat feature called the Always On display which is a blue digital display that automatically calculates and continuously displays the drive's name -which by the way can be customized to the user choosing- and the available free space, even when the drive is disconnected from the computer.
Taking about space, the palm sized Verbatim InSight comes in two models, a 320-gigabyte one, and a 500-gigabyte one priced respectively at $130 and $160.
Either model comes with a complete data protection solution from Nero BackItUp Essentials allowing full automatic system backup and restore functions. The backup software set up is easy to use, offering the user, the option to choose the backup frequencies, and features data encryption with password.

For more, see Gizmodo.com

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cake Financial is an easy to use automated financial service.

If there was a better time for someone to pay closer attention to their own finances, that time is now. But the recession and the financial crisis that have preceded it, can make it harder for a lot of people to afford, or even to just trust another human being with advices on how to handle their investments. That's where comes in Cake Financial, a San Francisco based small company which is offering an automated financial service written in plain English and with the aim to provide users, a custom design mutual-fund portfolio.
Priced at $99 a year, "the service, is designed to be simple, clear, relatively quick using easy to understand graphics and a step by step approach", according to the Wall Street Journal.
Cake Premium, which is the name of the service , works by automatically importing users retirement investment and 401(k) account information from a pool of 65 major investments companies, analyzes and categorizes his or her holdings, and then proposes how best to reallocate them.
It is important to note that Cake Financial is not a licensed adviser or broker and doesn't conduct any transaction on your behalf. It provides the practical advices and if you want to follow through with them, you'll have to go somewhere else to conduct the actual transaction.
For people interested in testing the service, Cake Financial is offering a free 30-day trial at Cake Financial.com.

For more, see WSJ.com

Monday, October 5, 2009

Femtocell devices extend and enhance cellphones coverage.

Most cellphone users have one time or another experienced with spotty coverage or simply dropped calls regardless of which carrier they get their service from. Over the years, there have been a number of devices intended to help with the problems by extending or enhancing cellphone service. In the past year, some of the biggest wireless carriers in the U.S. have begun offering new devices called femtocells that are small boxes that act like miniature cellular towers to improve the network's coverage. While Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel sell femtocells, AT&T does not. But here is a catch:the wireless carriers who do sell femtocells, do not market these devices as doing so would give a hint to a sensitive subject they rather do not want to talk about, coverage problem. So the catch is that if a subscriber really feel like he or she needs one, he or she will have to expressly demand for it. And usually carriers use the option to offer it as a last resort to retain subscribers who threaten to switch carriers.
According to the Wall Street Journal, "femtocells don't require special cellphones as they use the same radio spectrum as carrier's cellular towers to extend their cellular coverage by taping into a landline connection and routing calls over the Internet."
One femtocell can handle up to three simultaneous calls, covers up to 5,000 square feet and the owner can grant access to other cellphone owners that use the same carrier.
Sprint femtocell device called Airave is offered at $100 plus a monthly fee of $5, while Verizon unit called a Network Extender, goes for $250.
AT&T is said to be testing it's version of femtocell in three different cities without any mention of possible roll over date.

For more, see WSJ.com

Friday, October 2, 2009

Avis offers free-rental days.

Through December 13, 2010, Avis Rent A Car is offering what is called a future free-rental day when travelers book a car for five consecutive days. The way the program works, after the five-day rental is complete, a voucher for a "Rental health Day" to be used before June 13 rd, 2010, would be e-mailed to customers by Avis . One of the conditions is that customers have to be members of Avis loyalty program called Avis Wizard and register for the promotion at www.avis.com/rentalhealthday.
The program only allow the earning of up to three free -rental days generated by three separate five day-paid-rental periods.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fanbase.com plans to be the web's largest almanac of pro and college athletes, built by fans.

Sports fans who can not get enough of their favotite team or players, or who follow some not very popular sports, like high school hockey, have a new avenue to satisfy their devotion, thanks to a new Web site called Fanbase.com. The site goals' is to be a sort of a almanac of sports of all sorts, be it a team sport or an individual one, professional or amateur. Fanbase will work kind of like a Wiki where pages devoted to former or current players or athlets or teams will be created and fans as well as the players themselves would be encouraged to review and update.
According to the New York Times, Fanbase.com "hopes that current and former athletes and fans will visit the site and upload commentary and correct inaccuracies, just as enthusiasts provide much of the information in Wikipedia and the Internet Movie Database. "
To make the site more engaging, Fanbase holds various trivias and contests and is trying to fill it with as much videos as possible from some of the most popular video sharing sites like YouTube and with users generated content, be it video, written or pictures. The site organize various contests and trivia
Fanbase also is making it easier for its users to stay connected with their friends on other popular social networks sites like Facebook.com
Still according to the New York Times, "Fanbase plans to expand over the next few months to include individual sports like golf, skiing and tennis. After that, it wants to get really obscure, adding pages for high school teams and athletes."

For more, see NYTimes.com

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Marriot Hotels offer discounted awads nights.

To lure more business travelers, Marriot Hotels is offering discounted awards nights to members of its Marriot Rewards loyalty program through January 15, 2010.
Called "Points Savers Plus", the promotion will award members who stay at participating hotel brands using the Points Savers rate, a point rebate of 10% for Sandard and Silver Elite members , and 15% for Gold and Platinum Elite members.
To take advantage of the program, a registration is required by January 15, 2010 and members can do so by visiting www.MarriotRewards.com/PointSaversPlus or call 1 801 468 4000.

Monday, September 28, 2009

UPS offers convenient new online printing service.

Following Fedex's footsteps, UPS, the shipping company has introduced a new online printing service last week. With the new service, customers can from the comfort of their homes or offices, send documents such as business presentations or marketing materials to be printed via the Internet to any UPS store in the country.
To use the service, customers will have to sign up at UPS.com/printing, where they will choose an user name and a password to create an account that will serve as a personal folder. Once they have created an account, customers can then use it as a personal fling cabinet to upload or create their document from scratch and save it or send it for print at the store of their choice. The printed document can then be picked up or delivered locally which should cut on the delivery charges and time.

For more, see WSJ.com

Friday, September 25, 2009

Pandora Online music radio application for Android phones is now available.

Already available for mobile phones like the iPhone, Blackberry, Palm Pre, Pandora.com , the Internet radio streaming Web site is now available for download on phones running the Android operating system by Google.
In an article in the New York Times, it turns out that most people who download the Pandora mobile application, listen to the music by plugging their phones to speakers, either at home or in their cars.
The application shows ads that pops up at the bottom of the screen that listeners can choose to click on and watch while the music still play in the background, and when they decide to watch video or make a phone call, the music will stop.

For more, see NYTimes.com

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Vark is a free app that provides answers to those nagging questions.


Ever been engaged in a ragging trivia battle with a bunch of your buddies but could not agree on any of the answers provided by anyone and wished that you have some sort of a referee at hand to provide the final answers? Well, like the ads said, there is an app for that, and it is called Vark available at Vark.com.
According to the New York Times, Vark is available free for the iPhone and works this way: You will need to go register at Vark.com and list your areas of expertise and your Facebook page because it will use your social network as well your friends' networks to assemble the widest circle possible. But still quoting the New Y0rk Times, it will work without a link to Facebook by sending your question to selected volunteers, experts in the field of your question. If you have signed up using your Facebook page, when you ask a question , only a handful of people in your network or your friends network would be asked to provide an answer
which usually arrives within five minutes via instant-message, e-mail or through the iPhone itself.

For more, see NYTimes.com

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Simplea files backup and sharing solutions.


If you live or work with someone and you both use a different laptop or PC accessing and creating different files but use the same external hard drive to back up your data without any synchronization, there are some simple and affordable solutions availble to help.
They come in the form of networked hard drives that can back up two machines wirelesly and allow them to share data. Among them is a new device from westerndigital.com called My Book World Edition which works with both Windows PCs and Macs and is a breeze to set up and use.
It comes in two different versions selling respectively for $230 for one terabyte or 1,000 gigabytes and $450 for two terabytes. Either one of the two, does performs the same tasks like stream music to Apple's iTunes program installed on either machine, or stream music , photos and videos to a TV with an Xbox 360 or Playstation 3. Also any content backed in the My Book World Edition can be viewed from any other computer connected to the Internet.
Another way to synchronize files is to use a Web-based service and that kind of services is available from several companies like Sharpcast.com.
Sharpcast offers a service called SugarSync which can automatically synchronize the files in folders that you have selected among multiple computers. Those files are baked and accessible at an online account accessible via a password.
The start up price for the service is $5 a month or $50 a year for 30 gigabytes storage files and it goes from there depending on the amount of space needed. To allow people to try out the service, Sharpcast.com offers a free two-gigabyte thirty days trial.

For more, see WSJ.com

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

TuneWiki is a free fun music app that gives a peak at what is popular around.

TuneWiki’s chief charm is the ability to scroll lyrics karaoke-style as a song plays, whether the music is coming from your phone’s built-in payer or from an internet radio station. No more excuse for singing “’Scuse me while I kiss this guy,” during “Purple Haze.” The lyrics are added wiki-style by users, so you might spot some howlers.
Beyond that, the app lets you look at what other users are listening to around the world, or to see what the most popular songs are with Tunewiki listeners. You can see what people near you are listening to, or, on the Android version, you can see where other people in the world are listening to the same song you are at that moment. Songs can be purchased through the site, forwarded to friends, and (except on the Blackberry) you can post what you are listening to on Twitter and Facebook.
There are still bugs to work out and developers are still adding features. They promise that within weeks you will be able to set up a network to see what your friends are listening .

For more, see NYTimes.com

Monday, September 21, 2009

Plastic Jungle helps sell, donate or exchange unsused gift cards.

Nowadays gift cards have become very popular with people who use them as an easy option when the need to buy someone a gift, arises. But as popular as they are for the givers, that may not be the same for the recipients with 10% of them who do not redeem their cards or do it only partially. That makes the merchants that issue those cards the real winners in this exchange. If gift cards recipients have all kind of reasons not to use them in the past, now they have an option to take advantage of them by trading them for cash or for another card that they really want to use. A nascent trading market of second hand gift cards has sprung up in recent years, allowing owners of unwanted cards to unload them.
Plastic Jungle.com a California start up is one the companies that buys, sells or exchange unused gift cards for cash or a credit with Amazon.com. Plastic Jungle buys those cards at a discount ( about 8o percent of the original price) and resells them at a slightly higher price.
Beside Amazon.com, Plastic Jungle has partnered with Donors Choose.org, an non profit organization that match donors with schools around the country in need of supplies. In that partnership, gift cards owners can choose to do good with their cards by donating the full face value of the cards to needy schools through Donors Choose.org.
According to the New York Times, "the non profit organization will match the difference between the original balance on the gift card and what Plastic Jungle pays the donor “so that donors don’t lose a single penny when donating a gift card.”

For more, see NYTimes.com

Friday, September 18, 2009

Using Skype mobile on your cellphone.

As it continues to grow, Skype, which offers telephone services for free or nearly free to users via VoIP or voice-over-Internet protocol through their computers, has expanded its service into the mobile phone arena. Even before Skype made the move, other companies were already offering software that allowed certain phones to work with Skype.
The Skype software for mobile is available free for smartphone like the iPhone, Samsung, Nokia, Windows and Android phones etc, and other devices like the iPod Touch, Sony PSP etc.
With these various devices, Skype offers different levels of services and connectivity. But in general, Skype mobile works under the same principle as the one on computers by allowing users to make calls and send instant messages to other Skype users free, and pay lower rates than the ones from the phone companies when calling landlines or other mobile phones.
There are other restrictions like the one imposed by Apple to only allow Skype mobile calls to be made through WI-FI connection and not over the network of its carrier partners like AT&T.

For more, see NYTimes.com

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Evernote is a new way to keep different files synched and searchable.

Have you ever dreamed of the possibility of one day being able to have all the important information from all kind of different sources accumulated as you go by your day, located in one place and accessible from any device you happen to be using at any given time? Well, that time is here with a new free web application called Evernote from a Montainview California start up by the same name.
According to the New York Times," the company offers a Web application that saves data you accumulate. You can use it to keep a wide range of information: meeting notes and voice memos, for example, or even photographs of wines consumed or recipes found in magazines. The information is stored on the company’s computers so all the data can be synchronized on every computer the customer uses — and on smartphones as well."
You can for instance "snap a picture of a business card with a smartphone like a Palm Pre or an iPhone and it shows up on the phone’s Evernote app — as well as on the Dell back at the office. It is searchable, right down to words in photographs." That way, if you type in “Samsung,” for example, every business card that you own coming from someone working for that company, will pop up.
To put it like the company CEO, it is like an universal memory drawer.
For the basic features, the service is free and can be downloaded at Evernote.com.
For people who find the service so useful and need more storage space or s0me extra features, they can ugrade to the premium level at a cost of $5 a month or $45 a year.


For more, see NYT.com

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Parental control solutions for Firefox browser.

For all the good things that it is known for ( speed, security and other handy features), the Firefox browser is lacking a built-in parental control feature like the one found in other browsers. One may wonder why that is ? Maybe, and I am only speculating here, because of the profile of the average user of the browser as a young tech savvy, probably single person with no worry about kids surfing the Internet. Despite the absence of a dedicated parental control feature, users of the Firefox 3.0 version or newer who own a PC with Vista, can take advantage of the parental-control features that come with the Windows operating system.
If you don't have Vista or want something else, some Firefox add-ons are available. Among them, Mozilla, the maker of the Firefox browser recommend a few, like Glubble for Families and ProCon Latte.
More information on the subject can be found at mozilla.com

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Android HTTC Hero to debut October 11 on the Sprint network.



It has been announced that the third Android run smart phone called HTTC Hero, would arrive on October the 11th on the Sprint's network.
Beside the fact that the new phone is not not supported by T.Mobile which has been the only carrier offering the previous two Android versions, the G1 and the myTouch3G, the real surprise may be the decision by Sprint to offer the new phone at $180 ( with a rebate and a two years contract.)
According to PCmagazine, the HTTC Hero is an noticeable improvement to the first two models with a 3.2- inch multitouch screen, a 5-megapixel camera, WI-FI capability and a speedy 528- MHz Qualcomm processor among others things.
On top of all that, the new phone is eligible for Sprint's popular Everything plan and will have access to all of Android apps like ShopSavvy, Pandora and Flixter.
The HTTC Hero will be available at Best Buy and Sprint stores when it goes on sale October 11.

For more, see PCmag.com

Monday, September 14, 2009

New services offer books rental by mail.

What Netflix has done with online movies rental sent through the mail, is now being applied to books.
Quoting the Wall Street Journal, new services from companies like Paperspine.com offer the option of renting classics or new releases for a monthly fee starting at $14.95 for up to three books at a time shipped free to and from you with no late fees.
Paperspine is said to have stocked more than 200, 000 fiction and non fiction titles searchable by genre or categories like "bestsellers" or "at the movies." etc.
With their membership, users have over 400,000 unused titles that they can buy at discounts of up to 50%. That option is also available to non members for a $19.95 a year fee.
Another rental service is Bookswim.com which focuses more on newly released best-selling paperbacks and hardcovers. With their monthly starter plan of $19.98, users, can rent three books at a time shipped free both ways and without late fees.
Bookswim.com is not for casual readers only; students can use it to rent books by the semester and have them delivered through third parties like Chegg.com.
For digital book versions, Booksfree.com rents paperbacks and audiobooks in CD or MP3 formats, with plans starting at $10.99 a month. Audible.com, owned by Amazon.com, has more than 60,000 audiobooks, podcasts and audible magazines, which can be downloaded to most digital players or streamed to a computer.

Friday, September 11, 2009

IConcertCal is an iPhone app that can help concertgoers keep up with their favorite acts.

Music lovers with money and time to spare following their favorite bands, may appreciate a new iPhone app that does all the hard work of tracking down all the dates and stops of those bands. The New York Times reviewed the $2.99 app called IConcertCal, and found that it does even more. The IConcertCal app is a sophisticated piece of work that scans the bands or artists names in your music files then checks it against the database of concert promoters like Live Nation or ticket reselers like Ticketmaster.com, Stubhub.com, Jambase.com and others. From there , it can tell you when your favorite act is coming to your town or if you are traveling, you can have it to canvass for the hapenings in another city.
Other cool features of the app are the one that let you e-mail any finding to another person, to map the venue's location, to listen to your favorite acts on the iTunes site with the option to buy tracks.
And above all that, you can also buy tickets to the venue, through the app in many cases. Or, if you still need more information, you can head to a site thanks to a "Web info" button and while staying withing the site.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

TwitVid, a free app for tweeting videos.



Smartphone owners wanting to use their mobile device to post a video to go with their tweets, now have options in the form of apps.
For instance, Blackberry users now can post short videos on Twitter from their phones using an app called TwitVid which is one of several such apps that are available on the iTunes App Store for a while.
According to the New York Times, TwitVid is easy to use. After downloading the free app, users will look for the "record" function then record their video, enter their tweet and hit send. From there, the tweet will appear as usual on users' Twitter page with a link to the video which stays st0red in TwitVid servers with no limit on the length.
Anyone with a camera phone can use the service without downloading the app by simply visiting the company Web site at TwitVid.com . Once there, users will be assigned to be used to send videos as an MMS or an e-mail with the video as an attachment with the tweet in the subject line. After that, it will post just like a normal tweet.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New models hit the pocket size projectors or microprojectors market.



Since last year, a wave of microprojectors also known as pico projectors, have the market place. They are pocket size gadgets that can play a video on an iPhone or some handful other smartphones and transform almost any surface to a 60-inch screen.
The first one to hit the market was the Optoma Pico PK 101 by a company called Optoma USA.
One year after its introduction, the Optoma now retails at most places for $229 except at Best Buy who has it listed at $299.
After all the buzz garnered following its introduction, now there are two new entrants in this niche market.
One of them is the Cinemin Swivel by WowWee Technologies and the other is the 3MPro1020 by 3M.
Both these two new devices are a significant improvement from the Optoma Pico and they are both hitting the market this month and strikingly enough, they both retail for $350.

For more, see NYTimes.com

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Solution for moving an e-mail account when switching Internet provider.

With all the competition among Internet service providers and Online based e-mail services, the hardest part may not be the switch but to be convinced that there is an easy way to move all your e-mail files band contacts from your old account to the new one. Most people dreaded that prospect and until recently, just the thought of it, may have made them think twice before making the move.
But nowadays, thanks to the offerings of e-mail switching services like TrueSwitch.com, moving all your files from old e-mail accounts, has become a lot easier. TrueSwitch e-mail switching services is so proven that it is used by most of the major e-mail service providers included Google's Gmail. So lets say you want to move some digital files in an old e-mail account from AOL to Google's Gmail, the process could not have been easier.
Simply, sign up and create a Gmail account and go to your new mailbox. Once there, click the Settings link at the top of the Gmail window and next click on the Accounts and Import tab and then click on the “Import mail and contacts” button. A new window opens, asking you to type in the e-mail address you want to bring into your new Gmail account. Once you type in your AOL e-mail address and password, you are presented with check boxes you can mark off to import the contacts and old mail from AOL.
And according to the New York Times, "you can also have Gmail import new incoming mail from the old AOL account for 30 days — and even slap a label on the messages from the old address so you can keep them separate from mail coming directly to the Gmail address. Click on the Start Import button to kick things off. It may take anywhere from a few minutes to two days to move everything."
For more tips and information on from what other services can you make the switch, you can link to the the Gmail blog at gmail blog.blogpost.com .

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