Thursday, 17 January 2013

How to Choose Winning Mobile Tariffs

There are thousands of mobile tariffs out there that can confuse someone on choosing the best tariff. Sometimes, it is not just because the contract is cheap, it is already a winning tariff. The way to win is to maximize the function we really use and avoid the additional allowance we do not need. If we do not consider our calling habits and the amount of data we use whilst using the network's signal, we might be better off with a more expensive one with sufficient allowance to accommodate our usage.

According to Usage

Calling habits is easier to track than using data calls or in other words, going into the internet using the network provider's signal. This is tricky when users do not know how to distinguish between using their network's data signal and the network's free Wi-Fi. A friend of mind ended up in paying  £200 on his daughter's phone as a consequence. If your network's Wi-Fi is not accessible where you usually use internet outside your home and you use the internet a lot, it is better to get a deal with more data and take off the  free Wi-Fi deal however attractive the deal is like the picture below. The deal on the right is then better in this situation.

Adverts:
White iPhone4S £25/month




Consider the Price of the Handset

Other way to determine if your tariff is a winner is to consider the stand alone price of the handset. Subtract this to the total amount of the contract and the remaining figure shows the amount of what you pay for the service. If this amount is sensible when compared to the number of minutes and data within the contract then it is a winner. Let's take for example the deal below. 

The iPhone 4s has a standalone price of £449. The cost of the contract for 24 months is £630. This means a difference of  £181 that is equivalent to the contract allowance of 100 minutes, unlimited texts, 100MB data and 2GB of Wi-Fi.

Whilsts the Galaxy Note 2 is priced at £549.95. The cost of the contract for 24 months is £696. The difference is £146.95 which is the cost of  600 minutes, unlimited text, 500MB data and 1GB of Wi-Fi. If you do the math before you buy in here, you will know that this deal got the star buy.

Advert:



Win on Pay As You Go

If you do not use your phone too much and just use it mostly for emergencies, the best deal for you is pay as you go. Aside from no monthly contract to worry about, there are also additional benefits of having it, depending on which network you're on. I myself is a pay as you go customer and I am connected to these three networks for different reasons.

I choose orange to primarily avail of their Orange Wednesdays deal. Two cinema tickets for the price of one. 

O2  gives me 10% cash back on top ups and unlimited texts and calls to any O2 mobiles when topped up with £15.

Vodafone international sim gives me 100 minutes of international calls for £15. The top up credit will only be deducted if I call UK numbers or countries that are not included, or when I finish the 100 minutes international allowance. Click here for countries that are excluded.

And to win more from pay as you go tariff, if you are already 6 months with your network, you can get a discounted phone pay as you go upgrade from carphonewarehouse. The phone they provide as an upgrade is unlocked! You could save half the price compared to the standalone price of an unlocked phone. Click here for more details!

Monday, 14 January 2013

LifeKeep, Beyond Cloud Storage

This post is brought to you by BuzzParadise. All opinions are 100% mine.

Everything is becoming digital, from pictures to videos, important documents to money, are now just a series of  zeros and ones, combined and arranged in a way to create that favourite photo of yours, or to give value to a plastic card, a thousand or a million times the worth of it's manufacture. The power of zeros and ones is really amazing. 

As they say, great power comes with great responsibility, so we really need to take care of this powerful medium not to fall into the wrong hands. We need to secure our digital media properly, in a way that it can be accessed easily by the right hands and virtually impossible by the wrong hands. It also needs to be stored in a sensible and organised manner that can be accessed anytime and anywhere we need them.

Pen drives are easily accessible and can be encrypted, but they can't be anywhere, and can be easily misplaced or lost. In my experience, I have misplaced or have lost at least five of them. That's why I store the files I usually access on to a cloud storage. This makes it possible for me to access them virtually from
anywhere and anytime, from any device connected to the internet, without the hassle of carrying anything. I also find it convenient that I do not need to memorize any of my passwords to different sites.

LifeKeep

LifeKeep is one of the online providers of secure digital contents storage, so you do not need to carry anything important, like, photos , videos,  bank details, driver's license, loyalty cards, insurance policies, health records and many more. Aside from secure encryption and backup of your data, another plus factor of this storage provider is it's ability to automatically convert the stored digital files into the most recent format. This will ensure that the data can be read and translated by any programs in the future.  You can also configure the data you want to share to anyone you choose. This way, you are sure that no one can see your secrets except to those you choose to.

LifeKeep

Another distinct extra service is the panic botton function that  can be activated in case of dangerous situation. In one push of a button Lifekeep can call the police or anybody you've configured as an emergency contact. It can be your life keeper in real life!

And what about when the time comes that only your memories remains? What will happen to your digital data?  This depends on what you wish, should you choose to freeze it or leave your memories for the future generations to come. It is really your choice. All your digital properties can be preserved at www.I-memorial.com, a LifeKeep partner, to perpetuate your memory and will be accessible to those you choose.

LifeKeep

Try the difference of this data storage provider compared to other companies by signing up for a  free LifeKeep account . This gives you 250MB of secured storage that you can access easily with any web browser, or you can download the  free LifeKeep app application for your iphone for easy uploading and accessing of your files anywhere.

LifeKeep


Thursday, 10 January 2013

Internet Passthrough With HTC Desire C


My first HTC phone was the Wildfire S, There is one thing I was so curious about it, it's internet passthrough function, and it has it's shortcomings, it doesn't normally take a screen capture without fiddling and being connected to a computer. This time I need something that has internet passthrough function and the ability to take screen shot without breaking the bank. And I found a reduced price for a pay as you go HTC Desire C for £89. The package already includes £10 worth of calls. The normal price ranges from £129  to £159 plus an additional £10 of credit.

Why HTC Desire C?  I have chosen this phone for two main reasons. The beats audio built in, and the internet passthrough function. The built in Dr Dre audio has improved the audio quality of the device without the need of a high end headphone.  I also noticed that this is the only brand that offers a native application like internet passthrough among other top of the range mobile phones like Samsung or Apple. 


What is internet passthrough?

Internet passthrough is the reverse of internet tethering. Rather than the portable device powering up a computer or a laptop to connect to the internet, it is the laptop or the desktop that is giving the mobile device a connection to the internet.

 But do anyone really need this type of connection? Maybe not everyone needs this, but I think it is useful in some ways and situations. 

I work in a hospital and we usually use desktop computers to make and read laboratory requests, book annual leaves,  read company emails and so on. And we all do this using our company intranet by logging on to individual accounts. This means when a user leaves the computer, he needs to log out, else the computer would be locked out from inactivity and only the previous user can  unlock it. This usually delays things and sometimes we need to queue up to use it. Personal internet devices will not be able to access the "source" of data as it is not connected to the company's network. And sometimes even our personal internet devices can not access the internet because of lack of mobile signal. 

But with internet passthrough, a mobile device can be internet powered even the mobile network has no signal, and you can browse your company's "source" site without queuing with other users!

How can I perform internet passthrough? 

Please see my post http://prakticality.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/how-to-perform-internet-passthrough.html for detailed steps. Summary of the things you need to do this below.

  • A computer that is connected to the internet
  • Installed HTC sync software
  • HTC phone (android version, I am not sure about the new HTC windows operating system, I just could not find HTC internet passthrough from there)
  • A HTC USB cable

Limitation of internet usage whilst reverse tethered

Once connected to the company network, your internet connectivity and access is dependent to the permitted sites  the company allows. You can browse to the company's secured "source" page, read your company email, but you can not really go stray to the blocked sites. I wasn't able to try the web based applications of the company though and I am not sure if it will allow me to!



And with the Wifi hotspot turned on, you can also share the internet access to other mobile devices with the reverse tethered phone!



Tuesday, 8 January 2013

iPhone 5 Interesting Application


Cycloramic
If you have already the latest iPhone, then I am sure you've been trying it's new functions like the panoramic view. Although this feature has been around and in fact, other mobile manufacturers consider this as already old, this has been a distinct feature of the iPhone5 amongst it's predecessors. But with the refinement of  the camera , the development of the screen, and because apple used it for it's latest phone, this feature of a camera phone has somewhat came back from the dead, and made headlines not only to the users but to the apps developers as well! 

What I am talking about is an application that turns the phone 360 degrees to take panoramic video shots. Cool, first application of it's kind for mobiles. The application can make your iPhone turn once, twice or three times 360 degrees whilst taking hands free video recording. It utilizes the vibrate function of the phone to make it move. So the vibrate mode should be on before you can use the application. If your phone has a funky cover or case, you need to take it off and let the phone stand on a flat, level, solid and smooth surface like a wood, or glass for the phone to spin freely from friction, and as you might not want to get some scratches at the base of your phone whilst taking the shoot. Application of this program maybe limited, but those who wanted to be included in the video shoot instead of being left out whilst taking the shoot can comfortably sit down and relax and let cycloramic do the trick.

Capability of the program is limited to take videos without sounds, and at the moment, does not support panoramic still photos. I am sure the developers are already unto this, and might have these updates in the near future.

The application is available at the apps store and costs 0.64 pence at the time of this post. If you are interested to experience this it, visit the apps page and just type in cycloramic at the search window. 

See cycloramic  video in action below



Watch an amateur video gererated by cycloramic.




Thursday, 3 January 2013

Why Get an Apple TV



My wife is an apple fan. She expects things to work straight away out from the box without complicated settings. Reliably simple that works every time, that's how she find apple products.

Now that she can view her favourite pinoy tele-dramas on her ipad and iphone, thanks to the site's new interface, I decided to get her something that can mirror these on a big telly. This means being able to use her ipad or iphone to output what's on the screen to a bigger monitor wirelessly. You might be thinking of streaming, but streaming can only output something that is already inside the device, like the itunes contents, and not from an outside source like the internet. To me, mirroring is rather more advanced as it outputs the things you do with the device like surfing internet sites, playing games and using VOIP communications. I also think that it is useful when you are doing a presentation and would like to use your ipad or iphone as a source for files and as a remote control without complicated settings.


What's inside an apple TV box

Like any of the apple product range, the packaging is simple and minimal. Inside the box is the apple TV receiver, the remote control, the mains plug extension and some paper works. It is just a shame the product does not include HDMI connection which is needed to make it work with any TV with HDMI input. You need to purchase one if you do not already have one of this.



Setting up

To set up the apple TV, you need a telly with HDMI input, HDMI cable, wi-fi router, iPAD or iPhone. Connect the other end of HDMI cable to the apple TV and the other end to the telly's HDMI input.Turn on your TV and select the HDMI channel input for the apple device. Then plug the mains socket into the apple TV, and with the remote of the apple TV, press the play button. The device will guide you through to the set up menus. Remember to set up both the apple TV and your apple products ( iphone, ipad, ipod, imac etc.) you intend to output the contents into the same Wi-Fi network as the apple TV.

If you want to use a wired connection to connect the apple TV and wi-fi router, you can use an ethernet connector, RJ45, to do this. I prefer this kind of connection specially that we use the built in internet video provider, Netflix, to watch movies. This kind of connection depends on the proximity of the router, TV and apple TV.




Use Apple TV to mirror internet content

This is the function that I intended for my wife to use, so that she can view her favourite internet programs on her iPad onto a bigger monitor. All she needs to do is to double click the home button and scroll through the apps going to the right and find the airplay button. Tap the airplay button and choose apple TV then turn on mirroring. Follow the same procedure if you want to use iPhone, and if you use iMac or other Mac computers, go to systems preference and under display menu, choose apple TV and turn on mirroring. Now you can output anything you do from your device.





Tips

Before setting up the unit, it is best to download the remote application for the apple TV. This will let you type in your details and settings easier. Direct link of the application is below.




If you have the first generation ipad, you can still stream internet contents and your itunes contents using the device. What it doesn't do is to mirror your activities. There are also built in applications for videos and movies like netflix, vimeo, itunes movies and you tube that you can access without the use of another internet device. 

Which generation of apple device is compatible? As long as you see the airplay button when you double click the home button of your iphone, ipad or ipad, you can play the content on your apple TV.For notebooks and iMacs, if you can see the airplay button at the top of you can detect the apple TV at the display settings, then your device is compatible.



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