Keep Up With Life With Smartphones & the Latest Apps

People used to read the newspaper to discover what was going on in the world. The world has now turned and the Internet has become the greatest source of information and news. But time didn’t stop there as now mobile devices are sweeping the communication landscape. Information and entertainment can all be obtained while on the move, and if you have any desire to keep up with life you’ll need a smartphone and the latest apps.

The world of apps for smartphones has exploded. No matter the operating platform your device utilizes, there is practically no end to the applications that can keep you informed and entertained. Consider just a few of the latest apps designed to marry your already busy life to the never-ending stream of ever advancing technology.

Android

Android now offers a great twist on an old fashioned concept: “Writepad Stylus.” As the name implies, you need a stylus, but other than that if you prefer the old fashioned way of taking notes this app is ideal. Your screen becomes an electronic notepad. Everything you jot down can be saved or shared as a PDF file. The straightforward simplicity of Writepad truly makes it the latest must-have app.

iOS

On the iOS platform comes the hottest new multiplayer game: “Maze+”. You race against people from around the globe through elaborate 3D mazes. By randomly selecting who your opponents should be and what map will be used, every time you play it is a different and exciting game. The goal is simple enough: be the first through the maze and collect gems stones which you can later convert to money to buy new levels and characters. It’s a-maze-ing!

Windows Phone (WP7)

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 11: A person holds a new Wi...

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Imagine not only being able to listen to your favorite talk radio programs on your smartphone, but do so on-demand selecting from over 7,000 programs. “Stitcher” is now available for the Windows Phone platform. This ingenious software combines content according to topic (politics, cooking, doll collecting) and source (BBC, NPR). It then syncs them up so that if you pause a program you can pick right up where you left off later on. It essentially “stitches” together all your favorite stations into a personalized talk radio playlist. In addition it offers you the ability to hear what other programs listeners to your favorite stations enjoy. If you like anything, it can easily be added to you list.

BlackBerry

For the inner nerd, and those who enjoy a great challenge, BlackBerry offers “Celestial Slingshot.”  It is a game based on physics that has you aim your spaceship so that it collides with gems to complete a level. Sound easy? It takes a cool hand and a keen eye to finesse these super sensitive controls. Though difficult you’ll find it impossible to tear yourself away. It also gives you 20 levels with increasing difficulty to pit yourself against. But not to worry, you can purchase upgrades that increase your ship’s abilities. Conquering the galaxy has never been so challengingly fun!

How Can Android Phones Change Your Lifestyle

Android comes as a Linux-based program. Its ability for anyone to create an app for this open platform has paid off handsomely with many useful applications for everyday life. Android apps have been helpful in increasing productivity and making life more convenient.

Out of this large conglomerate come 10 Androids Apps to Make You Faster and Smarter:

Image via Flickr

Dropbox

This helpful app offers a way to transfer your files from computer to laptop to phone automatically. Files saved inside the Dropbox folder appear on any of your other devices that have this app installed.

Users can make edits to a document as well and it, too, will appear on the other devices. It also transfers across PC and Mac platforms and you can even share a folder with a friend.

Gist

An efficient app, Gist solves the problem of remembering which contact information is set up on which tech device. Gist gathers all your contacts in one place so you can get the big picture view of their entire personal network. This app also gives you the latest blog, tweet and news updates.

SwiftkeyX

This app comes as an input-method editor that anticipates your next word. SwiftkeyX tracks how you type and it collects data from your social networks as well as Gmail. With a few letters, this app will finish the word for you, increasing your typing speed dramatically.

Voice to Text

This amazing app by Vlingo has an InCar feature that is combined with a Bluetooth. Voice to Text app will let a user, by voice, send and receive messages, get directions or make calls. Now, any Voice to Text user can keep his hands on the steering wheel and eyes on the road while driving; and communicate with the office, friends or neighbors while working.

E-reader

E-reader apps come as Kindle, Nook, Aldiko and many others. It doesn’t matter if the user has the e-reader device. If a manual or book comes available on any e-reader, then this option lets him have access on his phone.

TED Air

This innovative app gives technology, entertainment, and design all wrapped up in 18-minute videos from some of the most brilliant, mesmerizing and leading thinkers in our world.

Pick Up Lines

A witty app, Pick Up Lines lets one view or enter a pick up line to be used on the opposite sex. The pickup lines are rated so when mingling, the user can choose the best line among the list and have the most enjoyable evening.

News Republic

This handy app keeps anyone up-to-date on breaking news from websites and news sources. News Republic is also customizable by letting the user create his own news channel with topics that personally matter.

Evernote

A very reliable app, Evernote lets you make a note on your phone, and like Dropbox, it will transfer important notes to other tech devices. Any user can make list and check it twice any place, any time.

Evernote has collaborative features that let one work with colleagues easily.

WiFi Explorer

This app lets you do a WiFi transfer of files from smartphone to a computer. Quick and easy, it transfers files where one needs them on any computer of his choice.

And there you have it, 10 Android apps to make you faster and smarter. Add these cool and innovative apps into your Android, and make your work enjoyable like never before.

Most Convenient Way to Buy Your Gadget

You may be in the market for a new gadget. It could be a new smartphone or perhaps a new computer. It may even be a new high-definition television, or maybe even that Blu-Ray player you’ve been wanting. No matter how big or how small, it is always fun to have a new gadget.

However, how do you go about finding the best deal in the most convenient way?

Gone are the days of hoofing it from store to store, writing down the various prices, taking your notes home, and doing some comparison shopping at the kitchen table. These days, technology can go a long way in helping you purchase your new toy.

Image from Wikimedia

Determine Your Needs

First, you should take a good look at what brand and model will be best suited to your needs. Do you really need the computer that has bazillion gigabytes of memory and a monster screen? On the other hand, would your situation actually be better suited for a notebook that still has the computing power you require?

While you may want all those bells and whistles, make sure you really need them, especially if you have a budget you must follow.

Side Tip: Consider Emergency Repairs

However, it’s not all the time you need to buy a new gadget. What if you solely rely on your computer to make a living (for example if you’re an IT technician or a freelance writer), and your computer unexpectedly took a nose dive off the counter and died, or you have a proliferating virus that renders your machine inoperable?

When pressed in such dire situations, an online loan from Great Plains Lending would be helpful to cover emergency computer repairs. Short-term cash loans from companies like this are intended for emergency situations and can temporarily help you out overcome the unexpected tech-related bump on your path.

Conduct Online Research 

After you have determined just exactly the product you need, start doing your research. Go to as many retail websites as possible and comparison shop online. Make sure that you check out comparison-shopping websites. Be aware that many retailers have online only deals that are available only on their websites.

Some retailers will also offer freebies when making purchases in store. For instance, don’t be afraid to ask for a case or a spare battery when purchasing a camera, or a free printer if you are buying a new computer.

Be Patient

While you may suffer from the need to have instant gratification and purchase that desired item right now, you may benefit from a little patience. If you know that a particular store has two blowout sales yearly, it makes sense to wait for that event. You may not get your laptop right now, but by waiting a couple of weeks, you’ll save a few bucks. Then you can spend the money you saved to purchase those other gadgets you have been wanting.

When you’re in the market for a techy, new gadget, take your time and you’re sure to find your heart’s desire at the best price possible.

Microsoft Contributes to New Version of Linux

Soon the 3.0 Linux kernel will be released. You might be surprised to learn that Microsoft was one of the top 5 contributors to this version — well, specifically K. Y Srinivasan, a Microsoft developer.

Although the contribution might be surprising, the reasons behind it are not. The major contribution by Microsoft was to update drivers for its Hyper-V product, which is similar to the VMware product in allowing for 64-bit virtualization on the computer. Greg Kroah-Hartman, who oversees code staging for Linux, actually threatened to remove the code because Microsoft was not being cooperative and updating it for the new version.

It seems the threat worked and was the motivation that Microsoft needed to work on the code, which will make it possible for Hyper-V to function within the new Linux kernel. Obviously the main reason Microsoft was willing to contribute is to reach its own ends; but users will be grateful for the contribution, especially developers that rely on virtualization to test products and find problems.

Still, it’s kind of poetic to know that because of this contribution, Microsoft is the number one contributor of code for the new 3.0 Linux kernel. It makes you wonder what will happen next. Maybe there are scientists out there who will bioengineer pigs to grow aerodynamic limbs from the sides of their bellies that when used will cause them to lift above the ground. After all, as the saying goes, “When pigs fly . . .” Well, you get the idea.

Are Laptops Being Replaced by Tablets?

Behold the iPad in All Its Glory.

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When laptops came out, they were huge. Despite weighing more than 10 lbs in the beginning, having a portable computer that you could take with you when you traveled was a huge deal and revolutionized how we saw the PC. Still, despite advances in technology, laptops are still bulky and can be difficult to take with you whether you’re traveling, walking around campus, or going to and from work.

Then entered the tablet. Unlike previous versions of the tablet PC, which typically were as big as laptops, these new tablets are small, typically 5 to 10 inches. They’re also very light, some being less than a pound. Even the lightest laptop can’t match that. Although many are just large smartphones, they allow users to browse the Internet, check email, write notes, and basically do anything that a laptop can do.

So will they replace laptops? Not likely . . . at least not yet. Although these devices are convenient, and great for times when you really don’t need the full capability of a laptop, most business leaders will still take their laptops with them when they travel.

Still, tablets are sharing some of the work that was exclusively used for laptops previously. You can make video calls, type up notes or an email, and get information from the Web. If the operating systems and applications on these devices improve enough, we might find laptops becoming obsolete in the next 20 years. Would you ever ditch your laptop for a tablet?

Buying Guide for E-Readers

Nook

Image by AMagill via Flickr

Many are interested in having a device for reading e-books, but there are a few things to consider with e-readers. Here are some things to think about.

Display

One of the major things to consider with e-readers is the display. You have three choices: touch screens, e-ink displays, and LCD screens. These are not mutually exclusive, however. The Barnes & Noble Nook has two options: a black and white touch screen with e-ink and a color display that’s an LCD. The Kindle has an e-ink display that’s not a touch screen. E-ink is great because you can read it in direct sunlight — important if you want to read books while at the beach or while at the park with friends.

Battery Life

Another consideration is the battery life. Although the color display of the Color Nook is impressive, its battery life is about 8 hours. On the other hand, the Kindle can last up to a month and the Nook Touch Reader can last up to two months on a single charge. This is because the e-ink display uses up much less battery than the LCD.

Purpose

When choosing an e-reader, you’ll want to think about what you want to use it for. If you’re planning on reading children’s books or magazines and browsing the Internet, having a color display might be worth it. For a device that does more than just display books, the iPad might be the right device for you if the price tag doesn’t put you off. For those looking for an e-reader specifically, devices with an e-ink display are great because they don’t strain your eyes and last a long time.

Linux Rules in the World of Supercomputers

Tux, as originally drawn by Larry Ewing 

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It’s no secret that Linux has had trouble gaining momentum in the world of desktop computing. A majority of computer users have a difficult time grasping how it works and how it can be used. Those who have managed to use it successfully prefer Linux over Windows because of the ease of use, access to the operating system and the increased processor speed.

However, while Linux isn’t popular amongst the home PC crowd, it has gained superiority in the realm of supercomputers. These computers are used in universities, stock exchanges, computer science and more. Even IBM’s Watson runs on Linux.

A major driving force in the use of Linux for supercomputers is the speed and stability. A supercomputer can perform 8 quadrillion calculations per second, which requires a very stable operating system. Linux provides the necessary stability as well as speed. Stock exchanges prefer Linux for its ability to handle a million trades in the space of a second. This has enabled high-frequency traders to push through their blocks of trades and make their money for the day.

It may seem strange that an open-source operating system is being used in top universities and corporations. However, the open-source nature of Linux is what makes it attractive to these users. Their programmers can tweak and adjust Linux to their exact specifications, and not have to worry about the changes causing a fatal error.

Linux may never have much of a foothold in the home PC market beyond its geek cachet. But it does dominate the world of the supercomputer.

 

Why use Linux at all?

Official Ubuntu circle with wordmark. Replace ... 

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Unlike Windows or Max OSX, Linux comes in a variety of flavors. There’s Red Hat, Ubuntu, Debian, Debian GNU, Fedora, Gentoo and more. It is guaranteed to confuse anyone who is looking to get started with Linux. So why use Linux at all, when there are out-of-the-box programs that are easier to use?

It is true that Linux has been related to the world of uber-geekdom. A majority of computer users just want to be able to turn on their computer and start interacting with the user interface. Linux does offer a user interface, but it does not come across as intuitive. This is in direct contrast to Windows and OSX. Then there is the fact that running programs is hit and miss on Linux. Not every program that is written will run on every version of Linux.

So why use Linux at all, much less any of the available versions? No simple answer exists for the average user, as they don’t see the benefit of being able to access their systems beyond files. However, Linux is the grease for those who want to fine tune their computer hardware into running like a well oiled machine.

Linux and its different variations give the user the ability to get down to the level of the hardware. They can communicate directly with the hard drive and find detailed information on files stored there. It is also used on networks, allowing remote users to log in and access accounts with ease. An administrator can log in, fix a problem for a user, and back out without disrupting the user’s experience.

The Appeal of Linux to Technical Tinkerers

Servers designed for Linux 

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Linux appeals to a specific population of computer users – the tinkerer. This is the user that loves nothing more than to take systems apart, rebuild them and tweak them within an inch of the computers life. They are more likely than not to have old systems sitting around, waiting for the right moment to ressurect one. Personalities such as this love Linux for its ability to provide them with hours of fascination an education.

Computing power once grew in leaps and bounds, but now has stagnated and left many a metal carcass in its wake. This is where Linux shines, especially for the tinkerer. Servers once required their own PC, now they are simply a hard drive in a case, connected to a network. Linux revives the old server that’s running on ancient hardware, and turns it into a streaming media server. No need to purchase an expensive streaming media box when an old system can be recycled with Linux.

Another excellent use of Linux is for a gaming server. Want to set up a LAN party for your friends, but don’t have the money to put out for a server? Source out an old PC that has a decent processor on it, such as a Pentium III, and install a version of Linux that is geared towards gamers. For less than $100, you can set up a LAN in your garage and invite your friends over for a night of  virtually blowing each other to bits.

Those who have a desire to learn more about their computers and what they can do are best served by starting with Linux.

 

The Linux Convenience: Safety

Tux, the Linux penguin 

Image via Wikipedia

The online world is plagued by viruses — they come sweeping through systems, attaching themselves to codes and applications. They burrow deep within hard-drives, nesting within the wires until it’s time to suddenly pounce. And their aftermaths are shaped to complete destruction: with computers stripped of their software and programs unable to perform. This is the worry that follows all users… except for those who prefer Linux.

There is — it must be explained — no guarantees within the Internet. Malware, Trojan codes and more can appear on any system. There are no certainties of safety. There are, however, ways to drastically reduce the chances of an attack: and having a Linux system is the easiest of these.

The reason is simple: hackers favor the most popular platforms. Their desire is to cripple as many users as possible — and statistics show that Windows (despite its many faults) has remained the most sought after system of the decade. This leaves other operations, like Linux, free from the typical threats. They are rarely targeted by viruses due to their small numbers… as well as the connections formed between users.

Those who prefer Linux are often more accomplished with computers (this is because the system requires a deeper understanding of software and its potential). They can detect the arrival of spyware and its kin, quickly spreading the word to forums and social networks. The intimacy found within this platform is not shared by its competitors, and this makes it unappealing to hackers.

There is no such thing as an impenetrable computer. There is, however, such a thing as security and Linux provides it.