Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ways to increase i-Phone signal.

With the explosive popularity of iPhone, comes a drawback: its well documented spotty signal reception. iPhone owners have not been shy to express their displeasure with the quality of service provided by AT&T, the exclusive carrier for the iPhone. But fortunately, there are some readily available solutions to help enhance the reception quality for iPhone; some are free and some are not. Here are some simple solutions suggested by the New York Times.
The starting point would be to check to see if you have Apple latest operating system by plugging the iPhone into a computer via its USB cable. When its 3G coverage is weak, iPhone owners can switch to the Edge network or simply reboot their phones. An extreme way to increase signal performance, would be to completely reinstall the phone software but not before backing up all your data.
When all that fails, a signal booster may be the answer according to the NYTimes.
In that regard, products like CellRanger available at get or zBoost offered at are credited to drastically improve iPhone signal quality.
Even AT&T seems to recognize that they have reception issue when it offers its own signal enhancement product called MicroCell whith one time charge.

For more, see

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Gazelle. com will pay you for your recyclable items.

With Earth Day just two weeks away, it is good to know that somewhere out there, there is someone willing to pay you to get rid of your old electronics gadgets. That someone in question is a company called Gazelle at
The philosophy behind Gazelle business model is that most gadgets collecting dust in people attic and closets, are still in working condition and got tossed away just to make room for the next new thing. So to give people incentive to recycle their unwanted items, Gazelle would literally pay them to part with them.
The way it works is very simple: on, you type in the name of the product you are looking to unload and answer a few questions about it like what condition it is in, and if you have all the original accessories that came with it etc. The site then automatically prices the gadget based on its condition and the demand for it in the market. If you are happy with the offer, all you need to do is hit a button to accept it. From there, the company will send you a pre-paid shipping box to send the gadget in.
After your gadget sells, will send you your earnings via PayPal, check or an gift card. is so dedicated to recycling that even your product has no value or does not sell, the site will still take it and recycle it.

For more, see

Monday, March 29, 2010

Tools for generating strong secure passwords.

One of the downsizes of today's highly digitalized world, is the need to use a host of passwords for almost any activity Online. With the plethora of passwords comes the need to remember them when needed, which on itself can be a challenge. But with the threat of security breach, there is an added challenge to come up with strong and secure passwords that are not easy to figure out. One can already see the dilemma here: the need for more secure passwords and the one to remember them when needed. There are some digital tools usually referred to as password managers, available to help solve that dilemma and they varies in sophistication and effectiveness.
Some of them are totally free while others require a license or subscription. The nice thing about them, is they almost all use encryption to ensure maximum security, and they allow the generation of incredibly hard to pick passwords without the need to remember them, having only to remember a master password. The New York Times has run through some of these passwords generating tools and here are some of them listed here: KeePass, a free open source software originally built for computers running on Windows, but now availble for Mac, Linux etc. Mobile versions of the application are available for many mobile devices including the iPhone and Blackberry.
Second on the list of the New York Times, is LastPass, which it said, is a browser plug-in that works on Mac, PC and Linux.
1Password is another tool considered by the Times as user friendly; people who want to try it can download it and do so for free for 30 days. After that, it will cost $39.95 for a single user.
RoboForm is another option for PC users and comes in a free and a paid version depending on your preferences. The paid one will cost you $29.95 for one license and for about $10 more, you can add more features like USB storage, secure login information etc.
PC users have another option called Password Vault costing $ 29.95 for a user and last but not least, is
i-Wallet a solution that uses biometric instead of a master password and costs $39 for a license according to the Times.
The list may end here, but the choice for password managers is almost as unlimited as ever.

For more, see

Friday, March 26, 2010

WaveSecure app helps lock or track a lost cell phone.

If you are like most people, chances are you you have vital information stored in your cellphones and just the thought of loosing it, may be very frightening. Still, only a very few number of people take the necessary steps to have their cellphones password-protected. For those people and even for anyone who dread to loose their cellphones and all the data in it, help may be just around the corner in the form of an app.
The app in question is called WaveSecure available at from a Singapore company named Tencubicle.
Lets cut right to the cheese and look at some of the features that come with the app. The app will respectively allow you to back up or erase all the data in it from the company Web site, to remotely lock your lost or stolen phone, to track the phone and so much more. When the phone is recovered, you can simply reload all the erased data. The app is only available for certain phones running on these mobile systems: Android, Cymbian, Windows Mobile, Blackbery and some Nokia models; the company is said to be working on a version for the iPhone. The app require a yearly subscription costing $19.99 with a free one week trial after sign-up. Android based phones owners have until March 31st to take advantage of a lifetime free subscription.

For more, see

For more, see NYTimes.c0m

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Webroot Windows Washer is an efficient file wiper.

If you find yourself wanting to clean off the hard drive of your computer, one of the safest way to do it is to erase all the files in it and then record over them.
For Windows based computers, there are several programs, some free , some not, called "file wipers" that can do just that. Among them, the Wall Street Journal reviewed Window Washer from security software Webroot. It is a comprehesive security software that does more than just wipe file, it allows also for a more secure Internet surfing. It is not free and right now sells for $29.99 on the company Web site.
According to the Journal, " Window Washer does "bleaching" of files or complete wipe off so they can't be easily recovered, before you can rewrite something else on top of them.
For Mac users, there is a similar feature built-in the operating system of the latest versions and it is called "Secure Empty Trash".

For more, see

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Remote desktop programs for accessing a computer's files from a smart phone.

When on the road without a computer near by and in need to remotely access your computer's files, there are several apps designed to do that from a smart phone. Generally referred to as "remote access" or "remote desktop" programs, these apps are offered by several companies like BarracudaNetworks, GoToMyPC, WebEx, and can be used from some of the most smart phones in the market. Actually the Apple's iTunes store offers a variety of such apps with prices ranging from free to about $30 depending on the features. For users looking for an apps that allow remote control of a computer be it a Mac or a Windows, RDM+Remote Desktop and VNC Viewer are two options costing $10 each according to the New York Times.

For more, see

Monday, March 22, 2010 is an easy solution for digitizing old home movies.

With Easter just a few weeks away and Summer not too far behind, many parents are looking forward to spending a lot of quality time with their kids. And with video cameras becoming cheaper and cheaper, capturing life's precious moments has never been easier. But even before this onslaught of digital gadgets, people have almost always liked to make home videos using VHS tapes. That was before the mass adoption of the Internet and the popularity of Online videos. Just like gold, the content of those old VHS may have seen their values appreciate and making them more readily accessible to more family members and friends, has never been easier. Digitizing those old VHS tapes is the best way to achieve that and it can be done as a do-it-yourself project using a few Online tools. But for a lot of people, there is a difference between knowing that you can do something yourself, and get around doing it. For those people, a slew of companies are eager to help accomplish just that. Among them, is a new one called which "provides a simple way to convert, edit and share old videos Online", according to the New York Times.
For $15 each, will digitize your VHS tapes and put the content on a password-protected portion of its own Website for viewing, editing and commenting, the New York Times reports.

For more, see

Friday, March 19, 2010

Securing extra room in coach with a second seat.

Not too long ago, if you were traveling on coach and wanted the seat next to you for extra room, the only ways you could secure them was if you were a passenger with a disability or was traveling with a oversized musical instrument that would not fit in the overhead bins, or your own size landed you in the category called "passenger of size."
Now, many airlines are giving travelers the option to buy a second seat at the same price as the first one. Generally, a "reserved seat " document or an extra boarding pass will be issued for the traveler to show to potential suitors for that seat.
Some of the airlines that allow that practice are: Delta, American, US Airways, Continental, Airlines, JetBlue and AirTran, according to the Wall Street Journal. As you may have noticed, one of the major U.S. carriers that does not offer that option is Southwest Airlines. But that airline has been notoriusly in the news for making certain heavy person buy an extra seat under their "passenger of size" policy.
Since most airlines require that the extra seat reservation be done over the phone, you will likely be hit with a reservation fee.
But even with that extra fee, the savings compared to a first class seat ticket, can be very significant on most routes depending on what period you are flying.

For more, see

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sensecam Black Box helps jumpstart a failing memory.

With a cure for Alzheimer still elusive, for people with early stage of the disease or for people with other memory disorders, there is a new device that holds some promises as a memory aide.The device, called the Sensecam, was developed by Microsoft's research lab in the U.K. and now a British company is trying to bring it to market.
The device is a little black box that contains a digital camera and an accelerometer to measure movements according to the New York Times.
The way the device is envisioned as a memory aid, is to have it worn around the neck by people with memory difficulties when they are out and and about or when engaged in some activities and have it take hundred of pictures in a very short period of time, creating a slide show that can be viewed later. The logic behind the process is to focus on very few images that might unlock the memories related to the events or places in question.
Another potential use for the device, is by young people interested in logging their everyday activities and broadcast them Online in social networks, videos or photos sharing sites.

For more, see

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 and other sites offer electronics rental options.

In these tough economic times, for people wanting to use the latest piece of electronics, without having to pay the full retail price, there is an alternative to buying, it's renting. Beside the obvious economic allure of renting versus buying, renting electronics present the advantage of allowing people to try out new gadgets in a fast moving field where innovation is the rule. So if you want to try out things before you buy it, or maybe you are on the road and need some hardware to work with, these are a few options.
For instance the company MeetingTomorrow which operates the Web site, is said to have more than 1,200 of the latest models of desktop, laptops and printers for rent, according to the New York Times.
Potential users can rent whatever they may want Online and have the company shipped it to them the next business day with a shipping fees usually around $49. The rented device will come with a labelled box for return shipping.
Another rental company, is ATS Rentals at specializing in video equipments such as LCD projectors and camcorders.
For people needing to rent a cell phone, there is, while for people looking for a GPS system, GPS 4 Rent at is the place to go.

For more, see

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Intel Home Dashboard Concept to help monitor energy usage at home.

With all the potential seen in smart meters to save them and their customers money, utility companies all across the country are in an arms race for their implementation. One of the majors attractions of the smart meters is the fact that they can tell homeowners the cost of the energy they are using at any given time of the day. Armed with that information, homeowners are given the option to defere their heavy energy use untill off-peak hours, therefore saving them money.
But the process is in its very earlier stages with only a very few homes equipped with the devices. To remedied to that, there are some companies offering alternative products, some readily available, some not. Intel the computer chip maker, is one of them with a prototype product called Home Dashboard Concept, part of its new Home Energy Management Concept.
The product looks like the interface in most smart phones with a sleek touchscreen and can be hang on a wall or left sitting on a counter which add convenience since you can move it around the house.
Like the same suggests, the product does more than just monitoring energy use, it serve multiple purposes. Just like a smartphone, the Home Dashboard Concept is equipped of a camera that allow family members to leave video messages to another. It also allow dozens of applications to be run like you would on a smart phone for different purposes like mapping out an itinerary, looking for a telephone number in the phone book, tracking packages, looking for the weather or traffic conditions etc. Watch a video demonstration of the product here.
As cool and exiting as the new product may sound, Intel does not have a plan to commercialize it for now, instead it is looking to work with others manufactures to have them use its designs and processors with their own devices, the New York Times said.

For more, see

Monday, March 15, 2010

Solutions for watching video wirelessly from the Internet onto your TV.

One of the phenomenon stemming from people spending more and more time Online, is that they tend to do most the activities they used to offline, Online, and watching TV and videos is one of them. On the downsize, computer screens small size push some people to hook their computers to the TV, task that is not easy or pretty when you consider all the wires and cables that may be involved. One solution to that problem is to have the signal of whatever video you are watching Online, beamed to your TV wirelessly. Believe it or not, companies have been working for a long time to have that process works, but with various levels of success.
The Wall Street Journal has recently tested two solutions to the problem; the first called Wi-Di is from several well known companies including chips maker Intel and several laptop makers and the other one is from a lesser known company called MediaMall.
Both systems require a device that remains connected to your TV to receive the wireless signal from your computer. But while the PlayOn system from MediaMall works with an existing computer, the Intel Wi-Di system is only available on three specific laptop models from Dell, Sony and Toshiba respectively. Also, the system requires a Netgear adapter called Push2TV that comes free with those specific laptops otherwise, it retails for $100. Both Intel and Netgear are saying the Wi-Di system will be available on other computers models later this year, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The PlayOn system from MediaMall works by beaming video from your computer to your TV through games consoles such as Microsoft's Xbox 360, Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii but not before a $4o software is installed on whatever computer you are using.
Both the Wi-Di and the PlayOn systems play videos wirelessly from your computer or laptop to your TV, but the experience is different with each system.

For more, see

Friday, March 12, 2010

Allrecipes new app provides unlimited access to 40,000 new dishes. which claims to be the "world's No.1 food site" has just released a new paid version of its free iPhone app. Called Allrecipes Dinner Spinner Pro, the new $2.99 app provides unlimited access to the complete library, including 40,000 dishes not available with the free version, according to the New York Times.
On top of the extra dishes, the new app has added a feature most requested by users, the ability to save favorite recipes.
The new app most noticeable functions are three spinning wheels that allow users to do three things respectively: choose a meal, select some ingredients and set the completion time.
Also the new app makes it easier to go shopping for the ingredients on a recipe by putting them into a single list.

For more, see the

Thursday, March 11, 2010 offers reduced-prices travel packages for families.

Responding to frequent request for family trips,, the Online auction travel company has launched a new Web site,, geared towards family travelers.
Just like with, travelers with families can bid on reduced priced travel packages that put the focus on families. To meet that market segment needs, packages usually include activities such as kids's clubs, suite accommodations, cultural excursions etc.
According to the Wall Street Journal, packages are discounted up to 65% and "users can buy them in an auction or at fixed prices."

For more, see

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Microsoft Office 2010 to be launched in May.

Last week, Microsoft announced May 12 as the launch date for Office 2010 which will go on sale the same day to Enterprises with volume license agreements. For the general public and business without licensing deals, it will be available sometime in June with no set date yet.
Also announced, was a new program called Technology Guarantee Program which is a free Office 2010 upgrade for certain owners of Office 2007.
Will qualify for the program, customers who purchase an eligible copy of Office 2007 between March 5 and September 30 2010. According to who reported on this, those customers will be able to download a corresponding edition of Office 2010 for free when the new suite become available in June.
Still according to computerworld, "users who want a DVD installation disc will have to pay a small shipping-and-handling fee" which is not released yet.

For more, see

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

AmtrakConnect, Amtrak new Wi-Fi Internet debuts on trains.

Amtrak started last week a new Wi-Fi Internet service called AmtractConnect on all of its high-speed Acela Express trains for routes between Washington DC, New York and Boston, the Wall Street Journal reports. On top of the free service on its trains, Amtrak is offering free Wi-Fi Internet access in Club Acela lounges and in six stations along the northeast corridor.

For more, see

Monday, March 8, 2010

Apple announces March 12 launch date for iPad tablet.

This past Friday, Apple announced April 3 as the launch date for its much talked about iPad tablet.
At first, Apple will be selling a version that access the Internet through Wi-Fi while another version capable of faster Internet connection through 3G networks, will go on sale later that same month. Talking about networks, AT&T is the selected carrier to support the iPad in the U.S., the Wall Street Journal reports.
Apple said that it will begin taking orders for the iPad starting March 12 and the device will be sold through its Web site with AT&T saying it will not sell the device at its stores.
The Wi-Fi version of the device will retail for about $500 while the 3G one will go for about $800 and the device will be available in others countries in late April according to the Wall Street Journal.

For more, see

Friday, March 5, 2010

TiVo Premiere set-top box to offer Web search alongside TVs listings.

Earlier this week, digital video recorder maker TiVo, announced plans to begin selling a new set-top box called TiVo Premiere that will put regular program listings from cable and satellite companies on the same page as related material culled from the Web, according to the New York Times.
The new device will work by pulling alongside regular TV listings of a particular program, all related materials found on the Web, be it merchandises on sale on eBay Amazon, old episodes for rent on Netflix or Blockbuster and videos from YouTube.
The new device is set to go on sale in April and will be available on the company Website and at selected retailers like Best Buy. According to the New York Times, the new device will be available in two versions.
Their is a basic one that stores 45 hours of high-definition programming and will cost $300 and a second version called TiVo Premium XL that can store 150 hours worth of programming at a cost of $500. On top of the cost for the set-top boxes, TiVo will charge a monthly fees for the service starting at $12.95, New York Times said.

For more, see the

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Vudu to offer movies streaming directly into TVs and Blu-Ray players.

Vudu, the pionneer of movies on demand thanks to its set-top box by the same name, is abandoning the box all together in favor of direct streaming into your TV according to the New York Times. The new strategy is fairly simple and cheaper too.
Until now, if you wanted to watch movies through Vudu, first and foremost, you would have to buy the $150 stand-alone box and then pay every time you want to watch a movie. But the technology was slowly adopted resulting in poor sales of the device. Now Vudu want to go around that problem by offering its product as a feature and not a device. For that end, Vudu has teamed with manufacturers of devices like TVs and Blu-Ray players, to incorporate its technology as a built-in feature into the device therefore, allowing the possibility of streaming movies.
Right now, LG and Mitshubishi are the only companies offering the technology with the list set to grow this summer to include others like Sanyo, Samsung, Sharp, Toshiba and Vizio.
The movies offered can be watched through three levels of quality: standard, high def and something called HDX which stand for higher hi-def.
To these three levels of quality correspond, three levels of pricing ranging from $4, $5 and $7.

For more, see

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pepsi Refresh Project to finance local Do Good initiatives.

Last month, Pepsi-Cola started a campaign called Pepsi Refresh Project complete with the supporting Website, aimed at encouraging ordinary people to submit ideas they think may benefit others in their communities and receive financing through the company if their ideas receive the most votes in their categories. There are six areas ranging from education, health, arts and culture, foods and shelter, neighborhoods and the environment.
For each area, there are different levels of financing available starting at 5,000 and going all the way to $250,000.
Here how it works: each month, participants submit new ideas for the public to vote with voting ending the following month. The projects with the most votes in each area, will win the prize. The number of winners per category depends on the amount of money involved; the lower the amount, the more winners, the highest the amount, fewer winners.
There is also a category reserved for celebrities. In total, Pepsi is devoting $20 million to the project through the end of the year.

For more, see

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 is a combination of onsite and cloud storage.

As trends go in the technology world, it is hard right now to find one hotter than the term "cloud computing." The terms describe the phenomenon of accessing information from anywhere with an Internet connection and storing back the information in far away servers. The key with cloud computer is that instead of storing data on their own devices, users rely on a third party storage servers. Nowadays almost every day activity involves some form of cloud computing, from social networks, photos sharing sites, online e-mail programs etc.
With those services, the decision to house the data in the clouds is not the user's, but the provider's. But today, any individual can take the initiative to have his or her data stored in the clouds with different providers. Most providers package their services starting with some level of free storage for a limited data; after that, the amount paid varies with the amount of data and the payments can be monthly or yearly. For instance, offers 2 gigabytes of storage free and charge annual fees ranging from $30 for 10 gigabytes to $800 fir 500 gigabytes, according to the Wall Street Journal., another cloud storage service offers a free 2 gigabyte program and charges from $50 to $250 a year for 30 to 250 gigabytes, still according to the Wall Street Journal.
But despite all these offerings and the many options that they offer, cloud storage has not took off with consumers worried about having their data stored in someone else servers hundred or thousand of miles away. That's where a new product called Pogoplug comes to play.
Pogoplug available at was reviewed by the Wall Street Journal earlier this year and is from a San Francisco based company called Cloud Engines Inc. It is a combination of an onsite storage and a cloud storage.
The system involves the Pogoplug device which the company sells for $129 and a storage device of the user's choice. Three cables attached to the Pogoplug are to be plugged to the electric outlet, a router and the chosen storage device respectively. From there, "the Pogoplug runs as a mini computer with its own processor that sends files out to the cloud for streaming whenever you want to see them" said the Journal.
The Pogoplug device acts like a projector, streaming to the company own website, any data stored in it. It allows data sharing with others it you choose so, and more importantly, sharing between computers using a button at the bottom of the device. The device works with both PC and Mac computers and some mobile apps for iPhone, Palm Pre and Google's Android phones are available.
One of the Popoplug most appealing characteristics is that beside the initial investment in the hardware, there is no more fees associated with the use of the device, the Journal reports.

For more, see

Monday, March 1, 2010

DynamicBooks to allow texbooks to be rewrote by instructors.

In a page borrowed to Wikipedia, Mcmillan, one of the five largest publishers of trade books and textbooks, has announced plans to introduce a software called DynamicBooks that will allow college instructors to edit digital editions of textbooks and customize them for their individual classes, according to the New York Times.
Quoting the paper, "professors will be able to reorganize or delete chapters, upload course syllabuses, notes, videos, pictures and graphs," and most interestingly, "rewrite or delete individual paragraphs, equation or illustrations."
The way the software is set up, instructors will have the power to go online, log on to the authoring tool and make whatever change they want without even the need for prior authorization.
The program is set to start in August when 100 titles will be available for sale through DynamicBooks.
One of the advantage of the DynamicBooks edition is that the titles offered will sell for much less than the the price of other ebooks because of their personalized character.

For more, see

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