Friday, October 29, 2010

Facebook's apps secretly sending out users' information to third parties.

It has been revealed this last week by the Wall Street Journal that many of the most popular apps on Facebook have been secretly transmitting users' identification information to several Internet tracking companies and advertising firms. The most troubling aspect of the revelation, is that it has happened to even users who have chosen Facebook's strictest privacy settings.
Among the information transmitted, are users' names, gender, age, income level, Online activities and information about their friends too. Most of these information transmitting apps belong to outside developers including some of the most popular game makers like Zynga Game Network Inc.'s FarmVille, and Texas HoldEm Poker and FrontierVille may have violated Faceboook's rules and the social network site has taken action and some of those offending apps have been temporary disabled while the social networking company is looking for a technical solution to turn the loophole.

For more, see

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Verizon Wireless to start selling Apple's iPad by month

Verizon Wireless, the largest wireless carrier in the U.S., is to start selling Apple's runaway hit, the iPad tablet computer. Until now, Apple has made the iPad available only through its stores and at some Best Buy stores. But given the smashing success of iPad and the frenzy it has created among a wide array of devices makers to come up with a tablet of their own, Apple felt compeled to widen its lead in the category by making it available through more outlets. Working towards that goal, Apple has recently decided to have all Best Buy stores carry the iPad and concluded deals with Target, Wal-Mart and its parent company Sams Club to let them carry the prized tablet. But the the recently news that Verizon Wireless, the U.S. biggest wireless carrier will soon include the iPad in its line up, may be the biggest of them all. There seems to be two reasons for that: for the first time, Apple is breaking from its exclusive relationship with AT&T as network partner; second, by patterning with Verizon Wireless, Apple is hoping to ride the waves of the carrier' reputation of coverage quality among cell phones users. Another smart phones maker that has ripped the profits of associating with Verizon Wireless, is Google whose Android phones has recently taken the first spot from Apple in the last quarter as the best selling in the market.
Verizon Wireless will start offering the iPad October 28 the same day it will be offered at ATA&T own stores too for the first time.
Unlike AT&T,Verizon Wireless won't sell a 3G version of the iPad. Instead, users will have to buy a device called MiFi about the size of a business card and roughly 0.4 inches thick, that connects to cellular networks and creates a portable Wi-Fi hot spot that can support up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices.
Verizon Wireless's iPad/MiFi bundle is priced the same as iPads with AT&T's 3G service, ranging from $630 to $830 depending on the size of the device's memory. AT&T offers a cellular data plan with a 250 megabyte limit for $15 a month, and a 2 gigabyte cap for $25 a month.
Actually, Verizon Wireless will offer customers the option of bundling their iPad with its "MiFi" gadget for about $130, less than half the current cost of the device.
Verizon Wireless is also cutting the price of its data plans for the iPad, offering users 1 gigabyte of data for $20 a month, compared with current options of $40 for 250 megabytes and $60 for 5 gigabytes. Users can pay more for bigger plans, including a $50 a month plan for 5 gigabytes according to the Wall Street Journal.

For more, see

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gmail Calling offers unlimited free calls to and from the U.S. and Canada.

Gmail, Google very popular free e-mail service, has been offering free Internet based calls to and from the U.S.and Canada regardless if they are made to a computer or to an actual phone with Gmail Calling. But Gmail Calling works best with a free Google Voice account, which assigns you a phone number that links to all your other lines – work, home or mobile. It acts like a personal switchboard operator, allowing you to decide which phone will ring when someone dials your Google number. Without Google Voice, you can only place outgoing calls through Gmail.
Gmail is hardly the first Internet phone service. Skype has offered VoIP calling to computers since 2003 and telephones since 2004. Skype's presence is greater with nearly any computer in the world able to call any phone or other computer. Gmail calling now works only for U.S.-based Gmail accounts and charges for calls to international numbers cost from 2 cents a minute to landlines in much of Europe and Asia, to 99 cents a minute to Cuba. But Gmail calling with Google voice is versatile, because it can handle calls to your other phones. For the moment, it's also cheaper for certain types of calls. On Skype, computer-to-computer calls are free. But calling a phone costs 2.3 cents a minute to the U.S. and many other countries, or 2.99 a month for unlimited calls to the U.S. and Canada. On Gmail, all outgoing calls to U.S. and Canadian numbers and all incoming calls are free, through at least the end of the year according to the Wall Street Journal.

For more, see

Friday, October 22, 2010

Verizon Wireless is rumored to begin selling iPhone next year.

Earlier this month, some persistent rumors have surfaced pointing to Apple's move to make a version of the iPhone available in the Verizon Wireless' network. The move is mainly a response to the growing threat posed by Android, the Google smartphone heavily promoted by Verizon Wireless and which took over the iPhone in the last quarter, as the best selling phone in the market.
Apple plans to begin mass producing the new iPhone by the end of the year, and it would be released in the first quarter of 2011, according to the Wall Street Journal. The phone would resemble the iPhone 4 currently sold by AT&T, but would be based on an alternative wireless technology used by Verizon, still according to the Journal.

For more, see

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Microsoft proposes a "collective defense" system against computers botnets.

Trying to tackle the ever growing problem of hackers taking over computers and using them to commit all kind of criminal activities as part of rings called botnets, Micrososft has decided to do something about it since PCs are the most susceptible of such crimes. Microsoft's plan calls for blocking computers part of such rings, from accessing the Internet all together.
Experts at the software company call the system "collective defense" modeled after public health measures like vaccinations and quarantines, PC world reports.
Under a new proposal, " PCs would be issued a "health certificate" that showed whether the system was fully patched, that it was running security software and a firewall, and that it was malware-free. Machines with deficiencies would require patching or an antivirus update, while bot-infected PCs might be barred from the Internet. "
The new proposal which could face resistance from privacy advocacy groups, already face criticisms from some Internet experts who foresee the impracticable nature of the proposal.

For more, see

Wednesday, October 20, 2010, a customer service rating service of employees, is soon to launch.

Have you experienced a bad customer service lately? Instead of going to the culprit company's Web site and vent your frustration with no way of knowing that it will be heard, there is a better way to go about it. It is offered by a new Online service called Tello which lets users rate specific employees and business based on the level of customer service provided. It just launched this week with a website and an iPhone app.
Tello founders set to make the service to look more like Tweeter in the sense that people can rate an employee in less than thirty seconds. But Tello goes a bit further by allowing users to identify good employees so that they can seek their service the next time they are doing business with the company in question. Also, Tello will provide customer reaction data to businesses whose employees are rated by users of the service in the hope that they will encourage employees to provide better service and reward employees that consistently get good reviews on Tello according to the New York Times.

For more, see

Monday, October 18, 2010

Google to discontinue GOOG- 411 directory-assistance.

After three years, Google is doing way with GOOG-411 its directory-assistance service who looked revolutionary and way ahead of its time when it debuted. But compared with today's more advanced voice-search tools including the one for smartphones from Google itself, GOOG-411 appears obsolete.
However, we should never forget that GOOG-411 paved the way for today's relatively refined speech-recognition tools used by Android phones, including voice search, which lets you search Google by speaking rather than typing. In addition, voice input lets you fill a text field by speaking. And you can call a business simply by saying its name (into the phone).
Despite their gain in the marketplace, not everyone uses a smartphone and the loss of GOOG-411 will have the greatest impact for those still using flip/phones. Those users are offered a somewhat archaic tool consisting of sending a text message with the name and location of the business that they are looking for to "GOOGLE" or 466453. In return, they will receive a text back with the desired information.
GOOG-411 will shut down November 12.

For more, see

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Google Goggles is now available in the Apple iTunes Store.

Earlier last week, Google made the announcement that Goggles, its popular Android app, is now available for iPhones and iPod Touch in the iTunes App Store. The app which allows users to do searches by taking pictures of objects with their phone's camera. The result of those searches may varies depending on the object photographed; for instance, the pictures of a street sign or a landmark will reveal things such as a Google map of the area along with articles or Wikepedia entries related to the area.
To app can be had by downloading the Google Mobile app for iPhone which will give users much more features such as voice search, location recognition, contact search and others Google services.
Here a video to see how the feature works:

For more, see

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Facebook changes to allow users to get more conrol when sharing and to own their own data.

Last week, Facebook unveiled some changes to its site in the hope of making it more accommodating to its millions of users. In a nutshell, the changes are meant to give users more control over the personal information they share on the site with different categories of people. For that purpose, Facebook has come up with the idea of allowing its users to divide their "friends" into different groups that can be public or private and differenciated by the depht of what can be shared with them.
Another issue addressed by the changes, is one that has raised a lot of questions in the past:data control. Critics have long blasted the social network giant over who can access users' data and what they can do with it. Facebook has taken the steps toward satisfying those critics thanks to two new features.
The first "one is a dashboard feature that allows users to keep track of information-sharing settings from third-party apps, such as plug-ins to other websites" according to the Wall Street Journal. Also, the dashboard displays exactly what personal information the apps of users' friends are pulling from them.
The other criticism leveled towards Facebook has always been about its take on data ownership. With the new changes, Facebook appeared to adopt a new attitude towards the issue.
The other new feature allows people to export the information they have entered into Facebook into one compressed zip file. With the information download feature, users become owners of their own data files, and could take them to other services the Wall Street added.

For more, see

Monday, October 11, 2010

Skype Mobile is now available to all Android phones owners with any carrier.

Skype Mobile which until now was only available to Android phone owners using Verizon Wireless in the U.S., is now open to anyone owning an Android phone on any network. The only requirement is that the phone has Android 2.1. With Skype Mobile, users will be able to make calls using 3G networks and Wi-Fi worldwide and Wi-Fi only in the U.S. The new app also allows all Android users to send and receive IMs through Skype for free, and hold conference calls with other Skype users for free. Charges apply when you start to use the app to include or call numbers that aren't Skype users according to AppScout.
Still according to AppScout, "current Skype users will be able to pull down their existing contact lists, and place calls to other Skype numbers for free." If you want to call non Skype users, you'll have to sign up for a calling plan or pay as you go. You'll have to sign up for a calling plan or pay-as-you-go if you plan to call non-Skype numbers, like traditional land-line telephones and other mobile phones. You'll also pay to receive calls to your Skype number from people who aren't using Skype.
The new Skype app also allows you to synchronize names and numbers between your Android phone's native contacts list and your Skype Address Book, so you can place calls to your friends using the Skype app back at your computer as well and vice versa. Instead of managing two contacts list, Skype combines them.

Watch here a demonstration of the app:

For more, see

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Square mobile credit card processing solution makes taking credit card payments accessible to anyone.

Ever wondered why is it that only companies and business in general accept credit cards as a method of payment? Well a San Francisco company has been asking the same question and has come up with a solution designed to brake that monopoly. The service is called Square Up from a San Francisco company called Square .
One reason behind the statu quo until now may have been the number of red tape and countless fees associated with setting up a credit card merchant account. Now for a moment, forget about all that. According to the New York Times, the Square Up system practically get rid of almost all fees reducing them to a bare bone of a couple: a transaction fees representing 2.75 percent of the total, plus 15 cents.
Concerning the equipment, all you need is an iPhone, Android phone, iPod Touch or an iPad and a half-inch reader attachment if you own any of the Apple devices while Android phones owners whose devices is equipped with a card-swiping slot, do not need any other piece of equipment.
To set up the whole system, you would need to download the app which is free.
Beside the low transaction fees, another beauty of Square Up is the fact that you only pay as you use it; if you don't, you don't owe anything.
To "ring" a transaction, just swipe the customer's card into the slot and have him or her sign their names on the phone's touch screen with their fingers. In case the customer is not physically present, just like any merchant would do, just have them provide their cards' required information.
From that point on, your phone connects to Square's server, process the transaction authorizes the purchase, sends a receipt by e-mail to the buyer and logs the transaction on your personal Square Web page. There, a tidy table that you can download as a spreadsheet, reports your income for the day.
To sign up with Square Up, you will have to provide your bank routing and account number allowing Square Up to deposit your money according to the New York Times.
But there is a little hang concerning the transfer of the money to your account: only the first $1,000 of each week's transaction ends up in your account immediately. Any amount over that may take up to a month pending review by the company's auditors before reaching your account. If you expect to use the service to process amount exceeding that threshold, there is a way to get around that $1,000 limit by providing Square Up with more information about your business when you first sign up.

For more, see

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New improved Line2 app has added unlimited text messages at a lower price.

Line 2, an iPhone app that allows you to make phone calls with your iPhone using a Wi-Fi hot spot wherever there is a weak cellphone signal and to turn an iPod Touch or iPad into a full blown cellphone for as little as $15 a month, has gone through some enhancements and is now better than before.
At a cost of $10 a month, Line 2 gives you a second phone number for a second phone line complete with its own contact list, voicemail while turning the iPhone into a dual-mode phone which means it can make and receive unlimited calls for free Wi-Fi connection.
The new and enhanced Line 2 have features like the possibility to delete recent calls entries, transfer incoming calls to your Line 2 number to your iPhone's when Line 2 is not running. The new Line 2 app will also you to send and receive unlimited text messages when in a Wi-Fi hot spot even without an AT&T text plan according to the New York Times.

For more, see

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Clue is a free and easy to use Web site testing service.

Some Web sites owners may spend a lot of time and efforts building their portals and not see their labor bear the fruits that they would have expected. It can be that their sites do not get a lot of traffic or they can't transform the traffic that they get into more business. The fact that a Web site is not producing the desirable results can be linked to many causes, like the fact that visitors do not recall much of the site after a visit. If you own a Web site and suspect that may be the case with yours, you don't have to stay idle and hope for the best.
Fortunately, there are some tools available today that allow you for testing your site visitors' memory of your site. Some of them like are very comprehensive but come at a price. On the other hand, Clue is a free tool from Bay Area interaction design and design strategy firm ZURB, that lets you create a 5-second interactive memory test that you can use to test what people remember about your product according to the New York Times.
Here are how the test works:Go to Clue and enter the URL of the site that you want to test and Clue will take a screenshot of the site and return a link that you can give to your test subjects.
Once you got the results, you can then work on twisting your site look, feel or content to match what you actually want them to remember about you and your product.
The service is free and is mainly aimed at small business and retailers with little time or resources to devote to running a Web site.

For more, see

Monday, October 4, 2010

How to hide from some friends while chatting on Facebook.

Wanting to chat with your Facebook friends but stay invisible to some of them? There is a way to do just that. It is called Friend List feature which let you set who can see you while you are Online. You can set the feature by clicking the Chat tab inside the chat window and see which of your friends are also signed into that chat. From there, you just follow the step by step instructions leading to the creation of a Hide on Chat category or your ticket to some peace of mind from those you do not want to be bothered by

For more, see

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Apple adds "like" feature to Ping music service.

Responding to critics who were lamenting about the lack of "social" aspect in its new Ping music social media service, Apple has added a new feature that let users both post the music they are actually listening to and to "like" other music that friends, colleagues or random strangers are listening to. The new feature is accessible via a sidebar that pops up within iTunes anytime one starts playing a song.
The way the service works is very simple: Whenever you are listening to a song, Ping will recognize it and automatically ask you if you want to put it in the "like" category and if you answer yes, will instantaneously, post it to your feed without any additional input. The add-on service also give users the option to leave comments alongside the song.
The tweak to Ping service, is a step in the right direction but doesn't satisfy the strongest critics.
To these critics, the limited nature of Ping to iTunes, makes it useless for songs who are not in the iTunes store. Unfortunately, Apple is not giving any indication that it is planning to move Ping into a browser-accessible service.

For more, see

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Microsoft is phasing out its Windows Live Spaces blogging service in favor of WordPress.

Starting this past Monday, Microsoft is dropping its Windows Live Spaces blogging service and make WordPress the default blogging option for Windows Live. The move follows Microsoft recent actions directing users of some of its services within Windows Live towards other leading Web services.
Users of Microsoft's Windows Live Spaces users who wish, can start moving their blogs, comments and integrated photos starting today to without any disruption. And for the upcoming update of Windows Live Writer this fall, Microsoft will make WordPress its default option. Users who don't want to make the move right now, will be given the tools to download their blog content for a later migration or just delete it.

For more, see

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

TwtRoulette just launched and will allow users to have a neak peek at others'

This Sunday, TwtRoulette a service that lets Twitter users take a peek at others users' timelines launched. But before you start worrying about privacy and who can access those timelines, there is some safeguards.
First of all, being part of TwtRoulette is totally optional and only people who choose to be part of it, will be able to see others already signed in, timelines. For that effect, users who wish to be part of it, will have to add their name to a vast database of users alike and from there, will gain access to those users' Twitter timelines. By gaining such access, users will be able to have a peek at the Twitter timelines of others users in the said directory as if they were them.

For more, see

Monday, September 27, 2010

Geek On Site donate IT time to Non Profits Organizations.

Geeks On Site, the computer repair service who has always landed a helping hand to Non Profit Organizations in the form of free or reduced computer repair works, has created a more formal program to better serve those organizations with their IT needs.
What has changed is the way Geeks On Site handles its give back program. Instead of just donating its services in the first come first served basis, Geeks On Site has created a new program where Non Profit Organizations with a valid 503c registration, can apply for a donation for up to three flat free Tune-ups. According to, the tune-ups consist of adware and spyware clean up, computer virus protection, and updates, among other things. Organizations can also get a special rate for further work by showing proof of a tax ID number.

For more, see

Friday, September 24, 2010

PayPal mobile app Donate, makes it easier to donate.

The new PayPal mobile app for Android and iPhone phones launched last month, spots a new Donate feature that allow you to make donations to charities very easily and in no time. The new app saves users time by skipping the cumbersome step of having to type information such as name, address, phone and credit card numbers, etc.
The new Donate feature let you choose among more than 23, 000 charities and organizations vetted by by a non-profit organization called MissionFish which also process the donations and keeps 3.75 percent of each donation.
The organizations featured in the new service are displayed in an order following their appeal and popularity according to the New York Times. But users have the possibility to use PayPal search tool to look for a specific organization. Also, PayPal plans to be more flexible in the future by promoting causes as the need arises.

For more, see

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hotel Inn hotels is testing smartphones as hotel room keys.

The list of doors opened by smartphones just keep growing and this time, the smartphones are opening real doors, hotel doors that is. In a test run, the hotels chain Holiday inn has started using an mobile application developed by MobileKey and called OpenWays iPhone, Android and Blackberry smartphones to serve as hotel room keys. With the new system in test until December, hotel guests in the two test markets of Chicago and Houston, can reserve their rooms Online and receive a text message on their phones containing their room number and a link to unlock the door. When they arrive at the hotel, they won't even need to stop by the reception desk to pick up a key.
According to USA Today, people interested in the program, can sign up by making online reservations.

For more, see

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Genius Scan is a very smart document scanner app.

If you are a business traveler, you certainly deal on a regular basis with an onslaught of receipts and other documents like business cards or brochures that need to be preserved for accounting or taxes purpose or for future uses. But on the road and far from your office, you are time and space constraint in terms of getting organized and filing things away. That's where a new app for the iPhone called Genius Scan comes handy. It allows you to have all of your receipts and any other important documents saved on your phone in case the original is lost. The app works by transforming snapshots of documents you take into PDF and JPG images.
According to AppScout, Genius Scan Genius Scan doesn't do text recognition but is smart enough to do other things like recognize the edges of whatever document you are scanning so you only get the information needed. It also does angle correction of a snapshot taken at an odd angle so that the scanned document is stored straight on.
The app process the scan right from your phone and store the final product there too so you will not need to use your phone service data plan or a Wi-Fi hot spot for it to go to work.
Scan Genius is free and available for the iPhone and iPod Touch running iOS 4 or newer.

For more, see

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 lets people list things or services to buy or sell.

Think about the pre modern days where there was no currency and almost all needs were met via trade. Well, you may be surprised by how ironically the Internet is bringing them back with the sprout of all kind of sites built essentially around that idea.
In that context, a new Web site called Needly at, has just went live with the purpose to let people post things or services that they think may have market value, but also any good or service that ican be valuable to someone. It is safe to say that what makes the site interesting, is the impredictable nature of things that are offered or solicited there.
For example, next to items like shoes or clothes, someone may run unto a rare sport vehicle for sale.
Unlike the similar site where all services go only for five dollars, members are free to set the prices of their services or goods or what they are willing to pay for such things. According to, "Needly acts as a broker between the buyer and the seller, and handles the payment between the two parties as well. When you decide to buy something someone has up for sale, you pay Needly via Paypal, who then takes their cut and passes the rest on to the seller. If you're looking for something to buy, you can either search for something specific using the keyword search at the top of the page, or you can browse the individual categories, like cameras, musical instruments, tech and gizmos, video games, household, and more, on the left side of the page."

For more, see

Monday, September 20, 2010

USBFlahCopy automatically backs USB flash drives' content by running in the background.

As useful and handy as they are, USB flash drives are not a magic wand: they can be lost, damaged, or have their contents accidentally deleted. A solution against those risks is to constantly back up their contents as you go. But that's where lies the challenge for most users: remember to do it faithfully. The good news is that there is a new app called USBFlashCopy that will automatically back up the entire content of your USB flash drives every time it is connected to your PC.
When installed in a PC, the app runs quietly in the background until a USB flash drive is plugged in and the suite will jump into action and start the drive's back up before you even can start using it. The app is a smart one who does differential backups only, meaning only files recently added or changed will be backed. The app takes very few storage space and doesn't require a full installation and is transferable to another PC or accessed from afar with a network drive or any other location according to
The app is free for non commercial users and business users can buy a license for $39.99.The app works with Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and Windows 7, in both 32 and 64-bit versions.

For more, see

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Nokia launches three new smart phones running on the Symbian 3 OS.

On Tuesday, Nokia the world biggest smartphone maker launched three new smartphones in an attempt to position itself as a viable alternative to the coolest players in the market.
The new devices are geared towards different segments of the market. Nokia's new devices include the business oriented Nokia E7, the consumer friendly C7 and a redesigned C6.
All three devices feature Symbian 3 OS, the latest iteration of Nokia's smartphone OS first introduced this year on the Nokia N8.
All these phones will launch in Europe first with retail prices there ranging from $335 for the C6, to $430 for the the C7 and $637 for the E7.
Right now, there is no launch date for either these phones for the U.S. nor retail prices.

For more, see

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Apple to end the free case giveway for the iPhone 4 by September 30th.

Based on its claim that the number of affected users is smaller than originally thought, Apple plans to end its free iPhone 4 case giveaways by September 30. Nevertheless, users who still experience problems, would be still able to get the free case but that would require a lot of more work convincing Apple that it is needed. As a result of this plan, Consumer Reports is saying he still can't recommend the iPhone 4. In the meantime, there are rumors circulating that Apple is busy redesigning and re-engineering its iPhone 4 with plans to introduce it at the beginning of next month.

For more, see

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New Wal-Mart Family Mobile Wireless service is a cheap alternative.

Wal-Mart announced plans to introduce its own wireless service to run on the T-Mobile's network. Called Family Mobile, the new service will offers unlimited talk and text for $45 a month for the fist user with additional lines costing $25 each a month. To be available in Wal-Mart stores starting September 20, the new service will be offered with a choice of phones from major brands like Samsung, Motorola, and Nokia with prices starting at $35 and the possibilities to upgrade a phone any time.
This will be the third Wal-Mart offering of prepaid wireless services coming on the heels of two other services, Straight Talk in partnership with Verizon Wireless and Common Cents offered with Spring Nextel. The new Family Mobile costs the same as the Straight Talk service but is a better value with the possibility to add additional lines and comes preloaded with 100 MB Web Pak Internet access to be shared by all lines in the same account. Any unused data credit can be indefinitely carried over the next month. On the other, additional WebPak can be purchased pre-paid at a rate of $40 per gigabyte.

For more, see

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cardstar and Key Ring make loyalty shopping cards easy to manage.

As Online coupons are becoming more and more popular, a growing number of start ups are springing up trying to capitalize on the trend. Beside a traditional Web site, some of these start ups have moved into the mobile world by having their products available in the form of apps for smart phones users. Earlier this month, two interesting apps Cardstar and Key Ring have moved in the arena and their offerings are impressive.
While Key Ring is designed for Android and Apple devices, Cardstar works on both those platforms and on Blackberry's too. But in general, they both function as a central command for your multiple loyalty shopping cards numbers as the number of those grow.
When it comes down to how they work, the two apps differ a little bit; while you type your loyalty numbers into Cardstar, you can do the same with the Key Ring or use your cellphone’s camera to scan the card’s bar code. By the way, it is worth mentioning that the scanning is not one hundred percent infallible as your chances for success depend greatly on the type of phone that you are using. And more often than not, you will have to manually enter the loyalty card member into your phone and that is particularly true regardless which type of phone you are using. According to these apps developers, the good news is, that as phones' scanners improve, so should be the experience with these apps.

For more, see

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Shopkick makes its debut at more than 187 Best-Buy stores.

In partnership with a start-up called Shopkick, Best-Buy has started last month an in-store mobile couponing system in 187 of its stores with plans to have it in place in 257 stores by October 1.The system borrows a page from the playbook of geo apps like Foursquare and Gowalla and then take it a bit further. Instead of having users checking in as they would with those services,
Shopkick automatically recognizes when someone with its app installed in their phones, walks into a store. The main difference being that Shopkick doesn't use GPS like other location-based apps to recognize when a person with it in their phones, walks through the doors. It uses a custom hardware app system created and installed in partner stores. The minute you enter a Best Buy location, your phone recognizes it and you get points and a message that there are deals available at this location. You can also use it to scan items and get more points and other potential deals according to Techcrunch. What that means is, it eliminate drive-by check-ins and also allow users to do more interesting things like scan items with your phone, look for deals and earn points or "kickbucks" redeemable at in various ways including discounts at the store, Facebook credits, or songs download from Napster. The app is free and people interested to sign up for it, can do it at

For more, see

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Barcode Hero is an in-store shopping app with a gaming aspect to it.

Combining the attributes of location-based services like Foursquare and StickyBits an app that turns barcodes into message boards, Barcode Hero is an app that attempts to make shopping more social. When a user takes his or her phone with the free app to a store and launch it, he or can start scanning the barcodes on merchandises. Every time they do so, they earn points and rewards called dukedoms and kingships, just like on Foursquare.
The purpose of the whole process is to help the service built a database of product categories therefore make it easier for it to offer a more personalized shopping experience.
Another aspect of BarcodeHero is its gaming side which can be very additive by pitting for instance a group of friends against one another to see who would gain more points in a product categories. Founded by two former Amazon workers, BarcodeHero has a lot competition in start-ups like Blippy, Swipely or the new hot upstart Shopkick. Only available on the iPhone platform for now, the founders have plans to expand to others very soon. It can be downloaded from the iTunes store here.

For more, see

Friday, September 3, 2010

Times iPad news aggregator gives users more control over their news.

iPad ownerss who use the social news aggregator Flipboard to get their news, now have another option that will allow them to define their own sources of news and information instead of leaving it up to their network of friends on Twitter or Facebook. According to AppScout,"Times is a feed reader that reformats news stories to look and behave like a newspaper on your iPad screen, complete with categories across the top of the page, popular news stories highlighted with larger images and more prominent placement on the display, and the ability to save and share news stories with your friends."
With Times, users have total control over the feeds they read and the sites that make it to the app. It is accommodating in terms of how many feeds users want to incorporate in one single page therefore giving them the possibility to scan through headlines, photos, and videos all at the same time.
Inspired by the magazine-style look of apps like Flipboard, Times adds the convenience of having each section of the layout scroll independently with the option to read a chosen story in its original Web page.
The extra convenience doesn't stop there with Times offering users the possibility to
add their favorite blogs and Web sites by just entering their URL, to create categories to help organize them. "You even get control over Times' layout: you can add or remove columns, change the number of articles included in each column, and change the way stories and photos are presented. Times also allows you to share stories on Twitter and Facebook, and e-mail them to your friends directly from the app" according to .
Times news aggregator doesn't come cheap, costing $7.99 at the iTunes store.

For more, see

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ways to keep Facebook status updates invisble.

If you are a Facebook user who didn't use a lot of discretion when accepting someone as a friend or just no longer want to have some members' status updates visible to you and find it akward to defriend them, there are some options.To make someone statu update invisible to you, all you have to do is place your mouse over his or her name and wait for a light blue X to appear on the right upper corner of the update. By clicking on the X, you will be presented with three options: Hide, Mark as spasm, or Cancel. If you choose Hide, that person's updates will never be visible to you again. To keep someone from reading your updates, a multiple steps process is needed and here is the walk through offered by the New York Times: After writing an update, look for the lock-shaped icon below and to the right of the text input box. Click on the lock, and Facebook will pop up a menu. Click the bottom option, Customize. That will pop up a dialog box labeled Custom Privacy that lets you filter who will see your update.
There are two ways to exclude people. The quick and easy way is to type their names into the box labeled “Hide this from these people” at the bottom
of the dialog box. To hide all future updates from these people, click the check box at the very bottom that says “Make this my default setting.” Then click the big blue Save Setting button. From now on, evil Charlie won’t get your updates.
The more sophisticated solution is to replace this blacklist with a list of people you do like. That way you can accept any number of new friends without having to accidentally share your updates with them.
To do this, click on Friends in the left margin of Facebook’s interface. You’ll see a button at the top of the Friends page labeled “+ Create a List”. Click that and use the dialog box that pops up to make a list of the friends you want to share with. Call it, say, True Friends.
Next time you post an update, follow the instructions above to bring up the Customize dialog box. But instead of typing into the “Hide this” field, click the menu at the top labeled “Make this visible to these people.” Select the option Specific People. A text input box will appear. Type the name of your new list, True Friends, into this field. Click “Make this my default setting” and then Save Setting. From now on, only your True Friends list will see your updates.

For more, see

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

How to put your Facebook account on hold?

If you are a Facebook user and want to take a break from the service with an intent to be back one day, there is way to do just that without having to delete your profile.
Here are the steps needed to put your Facebook page on hold according to the New York Times: Click on the Account button at the top of the screen and choose the Account Settings option. At the bottom of the screen, you should see an option to “deactivate” your account.
Account deactivation differs from outright deletion because Facebook keeps all of your profile content (like your Friends list and photos) in storage, but it removes your profile page from public view to everyone else on the site. The deactivation page requires a reason for leaving and gives you the chance to send messages to friends telling them you’re going AWOL.
Later, if you decide to return, you can log back into Facebook with your old name and password and reactivate your account. Your profile content should eventually reappear on the site. If you decide that you want to leave for good, log back into Facebook and submit a request to permanently delete your account from Facebook’s database.
As the site’s help center explains, all the personally identifiable information (like name, e-mail address and screen names) from your account gets flushed, but a copies of things like photos and notes may stay on Facebook’s servers for “technical reasons.” Facebook states that the content left behind is dissociated from any identifying information and that it does not use material from deactivated or deleted accounts.

For more, see

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

eBay's PayPal is talks with Google to add the payment serrvice to Android phones.

Even if Android run phones users can use eBay's Pay Pal payment service to pay for app purchases, it has been reported that the payment service is in talks with Google to make it more integrated with the platform. A report out last week suggests that if the ongoing negotiations go as planned, Pay Pal should be available to Google's Android phones owners by year's end. Android apps purchases currently are made using a credit card or Google's own competitor to PayPal, Google Checkout. PayPal for mobile would work in a more integrated fashion on Android run phones similar to how the iTunes Store works on Apple's iOS devices.
Google's chief competition in smartphones, Apple, uses iTunes to handle payments for app purchases on its iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
To broaden its sphere into the world of mobile payments, PayPal already introduced a new service for apps developers called Guest Payments in June that will let them accept credit card payments using PayPal without requiring buyers to have a PayPal account. With the service, Software developers offer credit card payments for applications, with PayPal electronically transferring the funds between buyer and seller.

For more, see

Monday, August 30, 2010

Flipboard iPad app is a free and appealing social network news aggregator.

With Apple enjoying tremendous success with the launch of the iPad, users of the tablet are enjoying the natural feel and large screen of the device among others things. But they are not the only ones finding the iPad very accommodating to work with; developers too like the flexibility of the device which allows them to aggregate media and other Web content in a very appealing interface.
In that environment, content aggregators have thrived. One app, Flipboard a new iPad app that aggregates news from social media, is one step ahead the rest when it comes to taking advantage of all the possibilities that the device has to offer. What makes the Flipboard stands alone, is its ability to present the news in a attractive way that replicates a magazine-like feel.
Flipboard has been making waves lately partially because of how well it fits with the iPad's touch interface and how closely it really does resemble an interactive magazine, but also because of the way it collects all of the articles, blog posts, images, and videos that your social network is discussing.
According to AppScout, "Flipboard is a free app, and once you have it installed and you're logged in to your Facebook and Twitter accounts (if you want the app to see them), it will scan your friends' posts and present the links and articles that they've been posting to Facebook or Twitter to you in a magazine-like layout. Your Facebook friends, their shared links, photos, and videos are all arranged in a layout that looks much better than Facebook itself, and the links from the people you follow on Twitter are pre-loaded and the articles displayed in-line."
You don't have to scroll endlessly through pages and pages of content to find the things you're looking for, either: They're all laid out on pages that look like you're reading an actual magazine, and you can move your finger across the iPad display to flip between pages, AppScout says.

For more, see

Friday, August 27, 2010

4Food Burger restaurant combines serving food and social networking game.

Starting next month, people in New York City will be able to built their own burger, give it a name and maybe if their creation is copied by enough people, earn credits towards free food eventually. The concept is derived from social network games and is the creation of a new restaurant called 4Foood who billed itself as a hyperconnected , "healthy fast food."
The process begins when someone go to and start building their own burger from a list of options like the type of bun, meat and condiments. After placing their orders, customers can give it a name, broadcast their creations on social network sites like Twitter, Facebook or Foursquare to help it make it become popular, and go pick-it-up. The names of the different creations will appear on a leaderboard where the creations are ranked by the most ordered. That's where the concept is turned to a social network game with each new order of one creation, earning the author 25 cents credit in the restaurant and making his or her creation move up the leaderboard, which translates to more credits.
The restaurant is slated to open on 40th and Madison and will have a seating area very accomoding for the plugged crowd with free Wi-Fi.

For more, see

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Kapitall free service makes investing fun and social.

The new financial reform law that just went into effect, brought very deep regulation to the industry. Inspired by the financial crisis from two years ago, the reform has touched on one important underlying aspect of the financial sector: the need to have informed and proactive consumers. It is a common knowledge that when it comes to managing their finances and investing, consumers are not as literate as they should be.
If they were intimidated before by the idea of taking charge of their investing and finances, they should no more after learning of Kapitall a free finances service in beta mode that aims to change all that by educating conumers in an interactive, graphically-pleasing way.
With Kapitall, the focus is on " generating a unique user experience that makes investing a more inviting and engaging activity" according to one of its executives.
And to believe AppScout, Kapitall users "level up" through missions and levels that gradually introduce them to more advanced tools and financial concepts. A host of easy-to-use features are also provided, including companies color-coded by sector, comprehensive watch lists, and a search engine that works with familiar brand names, as well as company names. Perhaps the most useful is the Compar-o-matic, which pops up when multiple companies are dragged and dropped on the comparison tool.
The Kapitall experience is also a social one. Users can either create a new Kappitall account, or use their Facebook account, and can also share information with their Facebook contacts and other Kapitall users. There are also opportunities for users to "battle" with other users and set up competitions with their own time limits and goals, in order to see who can create the best portfolio of investments.
Users also have the choice to use Kapitall purely as a learnAmeritrade ing and research environment with practice portfolios. Thanks to a partnership with TD Ameritrade, users can make actual trades in their real-life portfolio. Users must log in to their TD account to trade, and will be responsible for the associated fees, but all of the other tools that Kapitall provide are free of charge.

For more, see

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

eBay's iPhone app lets students compare prices and shop for discounted texbooks.

Just in time for the new school year, eBay is venturing into mobile textbooks sales with the launch of a new iPhone app developed by the discount site that eBay bought in 2003.
Using barcode scanning technology, the app allows users to scan the barcodes on items to find the best deals on texbooks, DVDs, books, video games and more with discounts of up to 50 percent or more off retail prices according to techcrunch.
With the emphasis on textbooks, the app contains access to 80 million active listings from more than 700,000 sellers still according to techcrunch. Users can search items based on set criteria such as condition or seller feedbacks and share deals via Facebook and Twitter.

For more, see

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

PayPal new iPhone app to facilitate mobile donations and check deposits.

Following the lead of its parent company eBay recent push into the world of mobile apps, PayPal has been putting a lot of emphasis in its iPhone and Android apps as more features are added.
The latest addition is Bump technology which allows users to transfer money and initiate transactions by simply smartphones together. With the next generation of the app for the iPhone, PayPal plans to add the possibility for users to make donations to their favorite charities directly from the app. To reach that goal, PayPal has partnered with 20,000 different charities.
Another interesting feature to be incorporated in an upcoming version of PayPal’s iPhone app is one that will save you the trip to the ATM or bank. When you receive a check, you’ll be able to take a picture of the front and back of a check and and PayPal will deposit the amount from the check’s account into your PayPal account.

We quoted Techcrunch who said that PayPal next generation iPhone app is to be released within a few months.

For more, see

Friday, August 20, 2010

Facebook launches Facebook Live Video Channel.

Since this past Friday, Facebook has started a new live video channel designed to keep users informed about new product features and events giving them a deeper look into the company.
Called Facebook Live, the new channel will be used primary to showcase Facebook products and how people are using those products according to the New York Times. In addition to product news, the channel would also allow users to interact with Facebook engineers and other employees to get a better sense of what’s happening within the company. The interaction will be through some live chats once or twice a week in the beginning with the company being flexible to have more or less of those chats in the future depending on users' interest.
According to the New YorkTimes, "the Facebook Live app is embeddable and can be added as a tab to any Facebook page. It allows viewers to update their status, chat with each other or ask a question, which is then submitted to the moderator. Videos from past live events will also be archived, so users can refer back to them after they are over.'"

For more, see the

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tweeter makes sharing possible with Tweet Button on other sites.

Inspired by Facebook Like Button that is a way for the social network giant to follow its users across the Internet by giving them a way to rebroadcast their Online's finds to their friends on the site, Twitter has launched a similar program last week. Called the Tweet Button, it lets you share links directly from the page you’re on. When you click on the Tweet Button, a Tweet box will appear pre-populated with a shortened link that points to the item that you’re sharing.
After you post to Twitter, you may see suggestions for accounts to follow. These accounts are suggested by the web site you visited and may include, for example, the news outlet and reporter of the article you shared.
According to the Twitter, the The Tweet Button serves a dual purposes: it is simple for users, but for publishers of all sizes, too. Recreational bloggers to large media companies can quickly and easily add the Tweet Button to their sites. It only takes a few lines of code. The Tweet Button will help publishers grow traffic and increase their Twitter following.

For more, see

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Waze is a social GPS navigation app that offers ridesharing and gaming.

People who own an iPhone have the possibility to turn their phone into a GPS device thanks to a slew of apps. Among them is Waze, an iPhone app that provides both turn-by-turn GPS navigation but also adds a gaming element that let drivers share their position and time, or alert one another to speed traps, construction zones and traffic tide-ups. The utilitarian nature of the app aside, Waze has always been a fun and useful way to get free turn-by-turn directions right at your fingertips and share very valuable traffic and travel information with other drivers and friends. Now, the app has updated to add groups and social features designed to help commuters and potential carpoolers find a ride and share empty space in their vehicle. Among some of the app's new features are the ability to create "driving groups," or groups of people who all commute from the same area every day, or for fleets of drivers who drive together from place to place. For instance, the app is useful for commuters looking to organize a ride-sharing program at their workplace, or for a group of friends taking multiple routes on a road trip to see which route is fastest. Additionally, groups can be used for common interests as well as activities, like drivers sharing the cheapest gas stations in their area, affordable parking in popular downtown neighborhoods etc.
The app also offers drivers special achievements for performing certain actions like sharing information or starting a group. The app is still free and the new version is available now in the iTunes App Store.

For more, see

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sobi to bring low cost public bike-sharing system to New York City.

Starting this Fall, a new Bicycles sharing system that will allow users to drop off bikes almost anywhere there is a bike rack, will launch in beta form in New York City. Another feature of the project is the ability to track bike disponibility with an iPhone app. To minimise the risks of thefts or vandalism, the system called Sobi, will use a lock fastened to the bike's wheel with a GPS system and a built-in transmitter. People can check bikes' availability and unlock a bike through the iPhone app.

For more, see

Monday, August 16, 2010

Parents Are Listening Services and WebSafety Inc are effective parental control tools for cellphones.

Children using cellphones is becoming so common and treated as a normal thing that the dangers associated with the technology are overlooked most of the times. A lot of parents don't even give it a second though until they heard something really bad has happened to someone somewhere. The true of the matter is that if you are a parent with children using cellphones, the list of questionable behaviors is a long one and still growing. From communicating with unauthorized adults, to exchanging inappropriate text messages, to bullying their peers to using their phones to cheat on class room tests, the pitfalls from kids with cellphones, abound.
The good news is cellphone companies have long offered some levels of control to parents. For instance, Verizon Wireless offers an age-rated content filter for mobile-Internet content.
T-Mobile USA can block certain kinds of messages, such as text or instant messages, while AT&T Inc. can ban specific numbers. All of the carriers offer some form of family locator's feature for roughly $10 a month, the Wall Street Journal says. But there is a catch: for legal reasons, phone carriers can't monitor text messages and emails contents going to or from a cellphone.
Fortunately, some start-ups and small technology companies are stepping up and offering some alternatives.
The Wall Street Journal has reviewed the services offered by a couple of companies: Parents Are Listening and WebSafetyInc.
"Parents Are Listening Services is testing a service that alerts parents when messages containing keywords such as "suicide" or "drugs" are sent to their child's phone. The program, called Kid Phone Advocate, captures the text messages as an image and automatically scans for those words. The company plans to officially launch the program in September for $9.99 a month. The application can be downloaded on most smartphones and basic phones that have an Internet connection." the Wall Street Journal said.
For its part, WebSafety Inc., offers a similar monitoring program that's been available for five months. The company's software draws from a unique library of 6,000 phrases deemed inappropriate, including slang and online abbreviations.
The program can monitor text messages, emails, instant messages and updates to social-networking sites such as Facebook. By using the phone's Global Positioning System, or GPS, features, parents can also set up no-text zones, such as on school grounds, to prevent students from using their phones to cheat on tests or taunt classmates. WebSafety Inc's service called CellSafety is offered either for a single phone for $9.99 a month or for an unlimited number of phones for $39.99 a month.
WebSafety Inc's CellSafety app works on a number of smartphones and basic handsets, although it's not available on Apple Inc.'s iPhone, since third-party developers can't yet access the device's GPS functions.

For more, see

Friday, August 13, 2010

The new Blackberry Torch launched yesterday.

Faced with increased competition from Apple's iPhone and Google's Android run phones, BlackBerry has no choice but to spiff up things and come up with a new product fend off that competition. That urgency was heightened by a recent survey showing that only 42% of BlackBerry owners are looking for their next phone to be a BlackBerry, while 89% of iPhone owners and 71% of Android owners plan to stay with their current platforms.
The new BlackBerry called the Torch 9800, is the first BlackBerry with a slide-out keyboard, the first to combine both a touch screen and a physical keyboard, and the first to allow typing on either a physical keyboard or an onscreen virtual keyboard. It is available on the AT&T network since Aug. 12 for $200 with a two-year contract.
Perhaps the most important feature for the new BlackBerry, is its operating system, which will also be available on future models and as an upgrade for several existing models according to the Wall Street Journal. Called BlackBerry 6, the new software aims to refresh BlackBerry's no freak user interface and feature set. One of its goal is to simplify the cluttered home screen, and to add features such as universal search, multitouch gestures, decent Web browsing, improved social networking and more built-in apps.
But one weak area for Blackberry still remains:it's meager apps offering. As of recently, BlackBerry only offered about 9,000 apps, versus 7o,000 for Google Android and 225,000 for Apple's iPhone.
Also, despite having a smaller screen with a much lower resolution, the Blackberry Torch is significantly ticker and heavier than its main rivals.

For more, see

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dell's Streak to go on sale next week.

Dell has just announced that its Streak tablet PC will go on sale this week with the company taking orders for U.S. pre-sales starting today and shipments to take place the following day. The Streak will be available for $299.99 with a new AT&T two-year contract and for $549.99 without one.
First unveiled in January, the Streak is described by the company as a combination between a traditional cellphone and a larger tablet computer. At half the size of Apple's iPad, the Streak runs on Google's Android operating system and can make and receive phone calls. One downfall is that the Sreak runs on a slower older version of Google Android which doesn't support Adobe's Flash software program. However, Dell promises to have an update available later this year.

For more, see

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

iBook app for iPads is a decent alternative for e-books.

Nowadays, e-readers are becoming more and more popular and some of the most popular like the Amazon's Kindle often sold out. And now with the recent launch of the iPad which has enjoyed a tremendous success, some people may be tempted to use their tablet as an e-reader. Indeed the iPad's color display and touch capabilities make the iPad's iBooks app a decent e-book reader. People who have no experience with E Ink from a traditional e-reader, may not mind the iPad's LED backlit screen. Compared with others e-book readers' book stores, the experience with the iPad's iBook app's book store is smooth and effective though it lacks the level of details past the big categories.
The iBook's books prices are competitive almost on par with those of the Kindle and the Nook though the selection may not be as wide as those. Expect for that selection to grow with new deals being made with a variety of publishers.

For more, see

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Textfree app will let you send texts without owning a phone.

The business of text messages is a big one for wireless carriers and people seem not to mind using them a lot. Some of them even text more than they talk, specially teens and pre-teens. But for parents not ready yet to let their youngest own a cellphone or people whose ability to text is limited by their wireless' plan, there is a way to get around that. The solution is the possibility to send and receive text messages without a cellphone being involved. The only requirement is an iPod Touch and the willingness to download an app called Textfree from a company called Pinger. The service assigns users a real phone number and allows them to send and receive text messages for free. Users are connected through Wi-Fi with the only trade-off being the presence of banner ads at the bottom of the app.
With the assignment of a phone number, Textfree has the capability to offer also voice service.
That option is in the works with a beta phase set to debut in late September. Called "Textfree with Voice", the service will give users the option to pay for voice minutes or earn free minutes by performing tasks like downloading free apps, filling out surveys or performing other tasks, according to CNET.

For more, see

Monday, August 9, 2010

Synth and Studiotrack belong to a group of very useful music apps for the iPad.

The iPad has been around only for a short time, but already developers have been busy at work coming up with an array of apps and the results of their work is quite impressive. That is evident in the musical field where a few apps have emerged as very useful for music makers and lovers. They range from virtual synthesizer, multitrack recording program, to a virtual analog musical instrument etc. Here are five of them:
1.The Synth polyphonic synthesizer from Retronyms. Modeled after the MIDI keyboard controller, it comes with over 40 built-in instruments, five control knobs, a modulation wheel, and the ability to choose between five octaves using the octave buttons. The app also have a "sample record" button which allows you to sample sounds using the iPad's built-in mic.
The Synth app is available at the iTunes store for $1.
2.According to, StudioTrack from Sonoma Wire Works is a multitrack recording program exclusively designed for the iPad. It has key features like multi-track recording, a metronome, an effect rack for each channel.
3. Modeled after Korg'Electribe series of analog synthesizers, iELECTRIBE is a full-on virtual analog musical instrument synthesizer that offers a lot of effects, sound banks and a a step sequencer. It sells for $ 20 at the iTunes store.
4.Amateur music makers will find the Groovemaker very useful thanks to its large library of loops that allow users to layer them therefore creating music on the go. It comes in two versions: a free one and one selling for $10 at the iTunes store.
5.For people wanting longing to spin vinyls, Mixr turntable app still in the development, offers that chance. According to pcworld, using the Mixr feels the same as spining real vinyls with the possibility to go back and forth and to cut and mix between tracks.
Still in development, the Mixr app is not priced yet but people interested can fill out a form at and get updated on the development's progress.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Amazon announces a $139 Kindle to be available at the end of August.

Locked in a fierce war against some formidable competitors like Barnes & Nobles and Sony and a host of new entrants, Amazon the maker of Kindle and a pioneer in the area of e-readers, has just introduced two new versions of the Kindle e-readers last week. With competitors like Barne & Noble and its Nook e-reader which starting last June was offered at the low price of $ 149, Amazon could not stay on the sidelines too long and watch risking loosing some market share. It comes up with a $139 Kindle version that has the particularity of connecting to the Internet using Wi-Fi only unlike the previous versions.
The other model introduced is the new Kindle 2 slated to go on sale at the same price as the older one or $189. Both new models are smaller and lighter than previous ones and with higher contrast screens with the ability to deliver crisper texts. They also boost twice the storage capacity of previous ones, up to 3,500 book according to the New York Times.

For more, see

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Yahoo Upshot Blog will post articles based on most popular search terms.

With the news moving Online at an ever increasing speed and the sources so scattered, it is increasingly hard for any news lover to keep up with the latest. Sensing an opportunity, Yahoo is trying to move in with big ambitions to become a major player in that arena, with the help of its position as the number two search engine in the U.S. With that goal, earlier this month, Yahoo launched a new blog called The Upshot that will scan its wealth of database to scout for the most popular search queries to guide it post articles.
The Upshot blog content will be written with a mix of humans and automation based by on the result of the most searched terms on various topics; it also plans to include original reporting.

For more, see

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

YouTube increases its video upload limit from 10 to 15 minutes.

YouTube users who untill now had to settle with the site's 10 minutes limit for video upload, got a good news last week when the company announced a 50 percent increase. The new limit is now 15 minutes and to help kick it off, YouTube is organizing a contest, encouraging its users to upload their own 15 minutes long video describing best their lives to the rest of the world.
Users have untill August 4th to upload their videos and a few winners will have theirs featured on its YouTube's home page.
When uploading their videos to enter the contest, users should have to tag them with

For more, see

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ways to avoid huge cell phone bills while traveling overseas.

When traveling abroad, there are ways to avoid cell phone bills shocks by just doing a few simple things.
The first one is the most obvious and consist of simply turning off your phone specially if you own a smart one that can access the Internet. Turning it off will prevent apps downloaded in it to roam the Internet without your knowledge.
For travelers who own an iPhone, AT&T advices its users to "reset their usage tracker to zero so they can keep an eye on new charges, and make it a point to use Wi-Fi instead of their phones' 3G services to access the Web" according tp the New York Times. That option may work for casual Web users who access the Internet for light things such as checking e-mails. For those with heavy surfing, AT&T offers data roaming for the iPhone and other smartphones that "provides 20 megabytes of data usage within 90 countries for $24.99 per month, and up to 200 megabytes for $199.99 per month" says the New York Times.
Secondly, if traveling abroad and in need to make phone calls, the first order of business is to get the right kind of phone. That is important because outside the U.S.A., many countries use a different wirless technology incompatible with most phones from the States. So it will be helpfull to check with the service provider to see if its phones work outside the country.
Verizon Wireless for instance do not use the GSM technology generally found oversea. To make up with that, Verizon Wireless have phones designed to work outside the U.S.A. available for loan for free for people that have been subscribers six months or longer.
AT&T and T-Mobile on the other hand, have phones compatible with GSM technogy more prevalent in other countries.
"Another option is to buy an inexpensive travel phone from a company like Telestial ( or Planet Omni ( They typically cost less than $50. For example, Planet Omni’s Kit V520 ($49) offers a dual-band GSM phone, SIM card with both a United States phone number and a global phone number, and $5 in airtime. The service allows you to receive free incoming calls in France, Italy, Spain and Britain on the global number, and free voice mail in 60 countries. Costs for outgoing calls depend on the country. For example, an outgoing call from France to a United States landline is 99 cents per minute, while a call to a mobile phone is $1.49 per minute. Telestial’s Passport package (starting at $99) provides free incoming calls in Europe, as well as calls back to the United States for 49 cents per minute." according to the New York Times.
Thirdly, savvy international travelers will choose the option of changing their original SIM card to one from the country they are traveling to. Doing so, all their incoming calls would be free while the outgoing ones will be billed at a much lower rate.
Fourth, An increasingly popular option for making phone calls while abroad, is to use an Internet based telephone service or VoIP. One of the most popular of those services are Skype or Truephone

For more, see

Monday, August 2, 2010

New version of CNN News iPhone app is now available to international users.

Even if it has been around for a while, CNN News iPhone app was till now only available to users in the U.S.A. But last week, CNN announced a new version available to iPhone and iPod Touch international users. The new version comes with added features like "push notification" for breaking news and the ability to use the phone camera to capture photos and videos and upload them to CNN's iReport citizen journalism website" according to AppScout.
"The new CNN app also allows iPhone and iPod Touch owners to customize their news experience. You can select certain topics and subjects and "follow" them so you get regular updates on the news and alerts on information that interests you specifically" still according to AppScout. "As you find stories that interest you, you can also save them for future or offline reading, and depending on where you live and the type of news you frequently read, the app will show you news stories of regional interest." AppScout said.
Another new feature of the app is its integration with CNN's iReport citizen journalism Web site allowing users to report on events happening in their areas. They can register right from their phone through the app to either submit material or view some submitted by others.
On top of the new features, the new new version of the app allows users to do all the other things that they use to do with the old one like watch the latest news reports or access CNN videos on -demand etc. The new CNN News iPhone app is free to download from the iTunes store or from CNN's Website.

For more, see

Friday, July 30, 2010

Amazon and Facebook to offer shopping recommendations.

With 500 millions members, it is becoming increasingly difficile to find someone that he or she is not on Facebook. The fact that the social networking site has became such a central hub for so many people, makes it a natural place to turn to for more than just connecting. Now Facebook is trying to use all the wealth of information that it has about its users to be even more relevant.
The recent announcement of a shopping recommendation service in a partnership with between Facebook and Amazon, reinforce that approach.
The service is deigned so that a friend on Facebook looking for a gift for another Facebook friend, can get recommendation from Amazon based on that person profile in the social site. The service will be able to access users' accounts and look at their profiles to get a clue of their favorite movies, music, books and others interests.
It is in testing mode and users can only joint in by opting-in. To do so, they will have to go to Amazon's recommendations page and click on the Sign in and Connect button under "Tap into your Facebook Network." From there, they will connect to their Facebook page after their Amazon credentials are verified.

For more, see

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Family Tracker app for iPhone allows to keep track of iPhone users.

The new Apple iPhone 4 has been making the news lately because of problems with its antenna resulting in dropped calls and frustration from users. But that did not stop apps developers to go full speed ahead and produce apps suited to the new phone. One of those apps is the Family Tracker that when installed on the phone, and turned on, allows to the person in need to know all the times the whereabouts of the actual phone's user, to be able to do just that.
The app runs unseemly in the background and checks on the phone location via its GPS and uploads the findings to the Family Tracker's servers. From there, the person who signs up for the service-generally the with with the need to track the user-, can log in to the service's Web site or from their own iPhone to have an idea to where the phone is actually located. It goes without saying that the person being tracked has to give his or her consent and be willing to keep the service running in the background for it to wrk.
The app has even a "ping" function that allow for push notification which is a way for the person doing the tracking, to send a request to the phone user through the the service and receive his or her GPS location if they choose to acknowledge the request. That added feature is important since it can work on older iPhones.
Citing some users, AppScout, said that the app is dogged by bugs and is slow to display updates.It goes without saying that the person being tracked has to give his or her consent and be willing to keep the service running in the background for it to wrk.
It sells for $5.99 and is available for download at the iTunes store.

For more, see

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Google launches Image Search Ads to appear on Google Images.

Last week, Google introduced a new feature called Image Search Ads that would display ads on Google Images alongside the images search results. According to PC World, the ads "allow advisers to include a thumbnail image beside the traditional lines of text."
The new feature can be a help for business advertising Online as users searching for images can now be targeted with ads relevant to their searches.
For now, Image Search Ads appear only on Google Images and they are competitively priced as standard AdWords ads according to Google.
To use the new feature, "advertisers can use Google's Display Ad Builder template to match their texts with a relevant image" pcworld said. More details are available at AdWords Help Center.

For more, see

Monday, July 26, 2010

India unveils a $35 prototype of a touchscreen tablet PC.

Since Apple introduced the iPad about three months ago and given the huge success that followed, computer and smartphone makers everywhere have been scrambling to catch up, trying to come up with a tablet of their own. But this week, a new entrant has created a big splash with the unveiling of a prototype of a touchscreen tablet PC with very unique features.
But above all, it's the entity behind the project that first draws attention. The entity in question is the Indian Government. People who have first account of the device, describe it as impressive with a very innovative approach. For a starter, the device runs on a variation of Linux, and use a memory card as storage unit. It also come with a built-in word processor, video conferencing capabilities and a Web browser. That's not all: It can run on solar power.
But as the commercial would say, wait, there is more; the tablet is set to sell for $35 a piece, PCWorld said. Right now, the Indian Government is looking for manufacturers who can bring the device to market at that price point or even lower because the device primary target market is low Indian low income families.

For more, see

Friday, July 23, 2010

Travel booking via smartphones.

With the summer travel season upon us, many people are busy scheduling trips and looking for the best deals. Nowadays, such tasks should not be the walk in the dark it used to be with a travel agent as the middle man.
With several Online tools available, chores like tracking airline schedules, making hotel and car-rental confirmations and restaurant reservation should be more easily manageable.These tools are tailored to be accessed on the go through smartphones.
They are offered by Services like, and with various degrees of functionality.
One thing shared by all three services is the ability to send users confirmation e-mails to an specific address set-up at the time of registration.
They also "can alerts about flight status and gate changes, and let you book new flights or search for hotel rooms on the fly" according to the Wall Street Journal.
"Some of them do also link up with social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook allowing users to track each others comings and goings" the Wall Street Journal said.

For more, see

Thursday, July 22, 2010 is a tool for sharing travel tips and adventures.

A new mobile app called Gowalla at, promises to be a combination of Foursquare and something where serious travelers can share travel adventures or tips. According to its founder, "Gowalla enables its users to share their everyday ventures as well extraordinary places and events of their lives; in other word, to inspire people when they're traveling."
Available for the iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Palm smartphones as well as the iPad, Gowalla encourage people to take pictures with their phones and save them in the service in organized categories such as trips or specific sites. As with Foursquare, users will have their passports stamped when they check-in or for the trips taken.
It integrates smoothly with Facebook and Twitter which will allow for automatic posting of users' whereabouts on those sites. Users who want to stand out, can create their own trips and share them with the rest of the users on the site.
In the feature, Gowalla is looking for to use an editorial team to choose some users' generated content and promote them as featured trips according to pcmag.

For more, see

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hulu to start Hulu Plus a $9.99 a month subscription service

Emboldened by its dominant position in the Web TV viewing, Hulu the video Web site formed three years ago by two of the majors TV networks and Fox Entertainment, has decided to take the experiment to a new level with the announcement last week of its ad-supported subscription service. For $9.99 a month, users will have full access to more episodes of current and classic shows including entire seasons in many cases and on a much broader range of platforms: PCs, iPhones 3 and 4, iPads, Bluray players, video games consoles and even old Internet connected TV sets. The service called Hulu Plus will be initially available only by invitation to be handed out at random to the site followers or friends on different social networks with the possibility for people interested in testing the new offering, to request one on the service Web site.
On top of the paid version, Hulu executives said that what was free on the site like the most recent episodes of shows from the three partners, would remain as such.

For more, see

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

To help against impersonators, Facebook will allow users to register their computers.

With the recent wave of bad publicity stemming from its controversial measures related to its privacy policy, Facebook can benefit from any act seen as good will. A series of new features introduced by Facebook last month, failed to get the same kind of attention that its tinkering with its privacy got. One of those features has the potential to be of great help for users to guard against impostors and cybercrooks who may take over their accounts with very bad intents. The feature will allow users to register a list of "approved" devices -be it a home or work computer, a mobile phone etc- that they will be using to access their Facebook accounts and when someone try to access their accounts from an unregistered device, an alert will be sent to them via e-mail or text message.
If it happens that they were not the one trying to log in, they will be instructed on how to remove the unauthorized device and reset their passwords.
The new feature can be accessed from the "Account Settings" page and is easy to set up.

For more, see

Monday, July 19, 2010

Apple drops iPhone 4 restocking fees.

Following its mea culpa regarding the reception problem with its iPhone 4 and the numerous lawsuits that have been filled since the release of the phone by disappointed customers, Apple has decided to drop the usual restocking fees for people looking to return their devices.
Customers returning the iPhone4 with 16 GB, will be spared the usual $20 restocking fee while the ones returning the iPhone 4 with 32 GB will get a full refund without the $30 restocking fees. In any case, the return has to be made within 30 days of the purchase date.
In an attempt to deflect blame, Apple has also issued an explanation on why customers where experimenting those drops in coverage in the first place: a software glitch that was showing an inaccurate display in the real amount of bars that should be displayed to begin with.
In a blog post on Friday, Apple said that it plan to release a software fix in the coming weeks to address the issue with a display not overstating the actual signal strength.

For more, see

Friday, July 16, 2010

Facebook starts testing a photo-tagging feature.

Any Facebook user who has tried before to tag several pictures on the social network site knows first hand how painstaking of a process that is. Each picture had to be processed separately and the results saved. Catching up with technology, Facebook just announced the launch of a new automatic photo-tagging system that is in test phase and available to only a few users right now. With the new system, Facebook won't automatically tag the people on someone picture, but instead will select them and display a prompt asking " Whose face is this?" At that point, it will be up to the user to respond and enter the friend's name and hit "save."
There are no indication on when the new feature will be rolled out to the entire site but Facebook officials are promising it to be just one of many new improvements planned for a more enjoyable browsing experience on the site.

For more, see

Thursday, July 15, 2010

FishPhone iPhone app gives you a lot of info about your fish.

Most the times, fish lovers or novice who want to know more about the fish they are looking at at the fish market or on their plates at the restaurant, there is not much to go by with. It does not have to be that way if you own an iPhone and are willing to download a free app called FishPhone from the iTunes store.
"With the FishPhone iPhone app from the Blue Ocean Institute, you have a wealth of information about the type of fish you're looking at and whether it's been sustainably farmed or caught right on your iPhone," according to AppScout.
The fishes in the app have an icon appear next to them indicating the level of sustainability or environmental friendliness in which they were caught or farmed.
Each fish in the seafood guide has an icon next to it that represents its sustainability or environmental friendliness.
Non iPhone or iPod owners who still want to know more about a fish they are interested in, can still get the information via text message from the Blue Ocean Institute by asking.

For more, see

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New personalized travel guides from

When planning to visit a new destination, it may be helpful to enlist the services of a tour guide if you can afford one. For more adventurist people, walking behind a tour guide may not be their idea of fun associated with discovering a new place. Maybe because they do not need that much of a hand-on experience, they would rather take matters in their own hands.
But whatever may be the case, travelers wanting to design their own paths, can do so by visiting to generate a customized guide for the things they plan to see or do during their stay in a new location.
The new service is in beta mode and can used to create a customized guide for more than 50 cities around the world. integrates with Google Map allowing users to use push-pins to highlight destinations.
Users can view local attractions on a map and read reviews about them; better yet, they can view "personalized" guides created by other users and print them if they find them suitable to their taste.
After compiling a personalized guide, users will be prompted to register for free with the service in order to download their guide along with associated maps, directions, and photos to take with them on their trip according to
The site tries to make money by earning referal kickbacks from some suggested locations if users choose to have book those services for them.

For more, see

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