Saturday, 27 July 2013

The AVG Uninstaller

I've been a fan for a long time of the AVG brand, from anti-virus to internet security suite. Though I use it's free products, I have not encountered any problem like major virus infection in any of my devices. The AVG program is easy to use and easy to configure to suite everyone's surfing habits. And here's something interesting for mobiles exclusively, and of course free!

The AVG Uninstaller.


I have heard about this product before, but I do not really know if I will need it. As the name suggests, it is a program  uninstaller for mobile devices. But not the regular uninstaller, it gives you a "reason" to uninstall a program. Here's how.

According to App Usage

The application starts collecting data with your phone the moment you first open it up. It takes 72 hours to see which application you use the least and the amount of memory each program has taken.  It also sorts out the number of days each app has not been used. From this data, you will know which one is not really needed and just taking up space.




According to Data Usage

If you bring with you your mobile whilst going away from the country, then be careful to monitor your online activity. This program tells you which application does eat all your data allowances. If you happened to know the incident when a teen ager raked up a bill of $6000 when she went overseas for a holiday, this application will give you the hint, to which one incurred the bill. The useful  point here is  it gives you the total data used for that day, rather than the accumulated data. This will give you an idea, whether to still use the application or keep it closed for the time being.

 If you go online with free wi-fi, then this is not relevant.





According to Battery Usage

If you are puzzled on what's going on with your battery that it doesn't last that long, chances are you are blaming the screen that is too bright and is taking all the power unnecessarily. The next usual step is to turn down the screen brightness up to the minimum. But is this worth it? For me, I can not see anything when I am in the broad daylight when the screen is too low. Wouldn't be able to use the phone because I won't be able to tap on the numbers for my unlock code. This move makes my phone useless.

It is not just the screen that is causing the battery to drain, but the applications that are running in the background, or other apps that doesn't look like power hungry. Tapping the "Battery Usage" will tell you which application uses the most power. And from there, you will know which one to turn off or force to shut down, or even uninstall.




According to Storage

If you are annoyed that you can no longer add file to your phone because of storage shortage, then tapping "Storage Use"  gives you the answer. Not like "Data Use" that gives you the day to day summary, this sums all the data being kept by a certain application. You can clear the data of the application in question or delete it.

To delete just tick(1) the box of the application, then tap the uninstall (2) button which tells you how many of the apps are selected for deletion, then just tap OK(3) to uninstall.





To get the AVG uninstaller  follow this link

http://www.avg.com/gb-en/avg-uninstaller

or

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.avg.uninstaller


The New Opera Browser

Here's another alternative browser that is worth considering to use, the new Opera Browser version 15. It is fast to load pages. Like google chrome, it's source code is based from the open source chromium web browser project. It also includes simple and easier way to control what you want to see, the way you want to see it, and tweaks that can be configured easily to adopt to your hardware and internet resources in order to allow faster internet experience. Here are the things I like about it.

The speed dial


Like the keypad of your phone, the speed dial is where you find the web pages you usually access. This saves you time to type in and search using the address bar. You can configure it to contain only the pages you wanted and usually go into. It's like a favourite list of web pages, but this time, instead of being embedded and buried somewhere else, it is in a page with thumbnails of each.

Hovering your mouse over the thumbnail reveals an x (1) button that can remove the item, and simply click the + (2)button to add pages.


The Stash Button


We are all multi-taskers, well at least in our surfing habit.We jump from one page to other pages, and when we get into two or three pages that we like but do not have the time to read at once, in Opera, just click the heart button at the top right hand corner of the browser to put this pages in one separate window for viewing later. It is helpful when you are doing a research and you have multiple data source sites. The tiles of the stashed sites can be adjusted with a slider control(1) and you can remove anysite site by clicking the x(2) button.


The Discover Page


Get into the latest news about everything by going into the discover page. You can personally adjust the contents by region(1) or by topic(2) to suite your taste. This ensures the relevance of what you are going to read and avoid contents that you do not like. Better than having a regional restrictions, or opening up a default news location by other web providers.




My Personal Favourites


Recover accidentally closed windows and tabs

Have you ever closed a page unintentionally? I often do that, and doesn't really mind if the site is familiar to me, but what if it's not the case? In opera, clicking the the logo (1) at the top left corner reveals a function that opens up recently closed window(2). The list of the closed down tabs and windows is shown starting from the latest(3).



Built-in download manager

It is easy to access the download manager(1) from the Opera logo, you can see the files you have downloaded, and the ability to pause downloads and resume later on. Sometimes it is a pain to transfer downloads into a directory of our choice. You can change the default location easily by going into settings  (2) and changing(3) the default download folder for Opera.



Save on data whilst abroad

In case you are abroad and needs to access a site but do not have a reliably fast internet, or you are saving on a mobile data, you can choose not to load photos whilst surfing. You can tick(1) this option easily whilst under the settings menu. Or you can choose which website to allow photos whilst surfing by managing restrictions(2).




Make load pages even faster

A significant feature that I find it interesting is called "Off-Road Mode". This compresses the incoming data through Opera's compression servers, thereby reducing the size of the page and in effect, reduces the loading and rendering time. This is very useful when you are using your device with public Wi-Fi like in cafe's where many devices are sharing the same Wi-Fi signal. Useful as well in the house, when the Wi-Fi connection becomes rather slow and unreliable, or have congested network because of too much internet activity of connected devices, like streaming movies and playing games. Though this feature is effective with pages containing mostly texts, it struggles with video sites.


Easy synch

When you use Opera into multiple devices, you can import every customization you did by creating an account. You will be able to see the bookmarks, stashes, and notes you made from your laptop in your mobile device when you use Opera and log into your account.

You can create a synchronization account by going to more tools(1), synchronize(2) and sign up(3).



Full page on mobile devices

When using a mobile phone, the sites you are accessing automatically detects you are using a mobile device and renders you a mobile version of website. It is good and quicker to load  but sometimes they do not show us all data that we would like to see like when viewing the same site in a computer.

In Opera mobile version, there is a selection in the advanced(1) setting that you can change the default version of the web page by choosing a different user agent(2). Change it into desktop(3) and the full version of the web will be rendered. This will stretch the loading time though.




Get the new Opera at http://www.opera.com/ and try it with your device. A mac and mobile flatform version is also available.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

4 Useful Google Search Tips

Google is synonymous to internet search.The name of the brand is known more as a search engine than any other services that it provides, like blogging, emailing and other useful internet tools.  Interesting bit about the search function is, it incorporates every aspect of online activity, and other productivity tools that are otherwise preloaded  with your computer.  Here are interesting tips that makes google do more than just online searching.

Better MP3 Search


If you are looking for free MP3's, tweaking the search query will give you a better result. Try searching with this format, "intitle:index of mp3 + "artist name". If you are a fan of Jason Mraz(like me), you can search his songs with  the format, type in at the search box  intitle:index of mp3 + “Jason Mraz” .



Clicking the top search result brought me to this page, a list of his songs in MP3 format ready to play or download.



To download the file, play it first by clicking on it, then right click anywhere around the black background and click "save as". If you happen to right click at the player, the dialogue will be "save video as". You can still save this the same as the "save as" option.




 This would not matter as it will be saved as an MP3 format.




Note: Just be careful when you come up with other results as they are dodgy. They let you log in into a "pre generated username and password" but if you look closely, the said password and username remains the same. Others let you sign up to offers, or do a survey. Legitimate sites do not let you do anything before download.


Show Inactive Sites


If you notice a site that can no longer be accessed, most probably it is already down for good. It will still appear within  the search results, but the pages can no longer load.  You can access some of it's part by viewing it's cached data collected by google. To do this, type in this syntax "cache:URL" in the search field. Example is the site www.samsungmobilers.co.uk, which was down since July 12 and which I was a member for a year, the syntax would be cache:samsungmobilers.co.uk.






Calculator


Yes, google can be used as a calculator. Instead of  looking for the calculator apps, which is annoyingly buried under folders and directories, you can go straight to google and key in the numbers plus the calculations you  are working on the search box. It can be used with simple mathematical problem to complex ones. 



Instant Searches


Instant search in google is quite a handy tool. Instead of looking for information around the web, you can let google tell you straight away within the search results. Here's a few example.

Know World Time In an Instant


Instead of searching for "world time" to know if it's a good hour to call home, google search can tell you the time in every city or country by typing this syntax, "time" +  "city or country" (Time Philippines) in the search field. 




Know World Weather In an Instant


It can also tell you weather around the world in an instant. Just type in the syntax in this format "weather" + "city or country". This saves you trouble of downloading apps that serve the same purpose.



Know Your IP Address


Again, instead of going to a site that can detect IP (Internet Protocol) Adress, you can just let google search tell you by typing "my ip address" in the search box.


Know Flight Status

 You can track the status of your flight  whether it is on time or delayed by typing in the name of the airplane company + flight number, like Delta flight 5778.



Google indeed is a very effective tool in everyday computing. It makes life easier for us, and even makes life cheaper because of free downloads and free tools. Imagine a free full office suite that otherwise worth hundreds. And most of all, it is giving us the taste of future computing, which is everything we need is at the web. This would mean, no more downloading applications, no more tedious updating and everything we need, is just in a click!


Sunday, 14 July 2013

How To Watch Movies Using TV's USB Port

Latest models of TV's has a built in USB port usually positioned alongside other input ports at the end or at the back of a telly. This port is a built-in multi media player that is capable of playing digital contents like photos, music and videos.


How can I use it?

The operation is simple. Plug in a USB device, turn on your TV and flick the input source on your remote to USB, then media interface categories the supported files into Videos, Music and Photos. Then like when using a computer, you can open the files that are shown and play it. Files with in a folder can be browsed and played as well. 



Why is it that videos and music inside the USB are not showing.

This is because of file compatibility. The usual supported media formats for music includes Dolby Digital, AAC, RA, OGG, MKA, MP3, WAV, APE, FLAC, DTS, LPCM, PCM, WMA (V9), IMP/MS ADPCM and WMA Pro. For photos, it can output images of these formats JPEG, JPG, M-JPEG, PNG, TIF, TIFF, GIF, BMP and HD JPEG, and videos can be played using MPEG 1/2/4 (MPEG 4 Part 2), H.264, VC-1, H.263, VP6 (640 x 480), DivX Plus HD, DivX 3/4/5/6, Xvid, RMVB 8/9/10, RM, WMV (V9), AVI, TS, M2TS, TP, TRP, ISO, VOB, DAT, MP4, MPEG, MPG, MOV(MPEG 4, H.264), ASF, FLV (640 x 480), MKV, M4V files.

 The bad news is, depending on the make of your TV, it can only play a specific file for a specific media. The good news is, there is a common denominator on all models that they can all play. For photos for example, the file jpg, jpeg or png, MP4 for video and MP3 for music. So if you happen to have downloaded a movie or music that can not be played on your TV USB port, make sure that it is in the right universal format. For example if you have downloaded a movie from you tube, make sure it is converted into MP4 as it is most probably in the FLV format. 

You can change this into MP4 by using a video converter. In my experience, I usually make use of Freemake Video Converter. See previous post on where to get it and how to use it.


If you want to download music videos from you tube and turn them into mp3's then this previous post is useful in showing you how to do it on the fly.

http://prakticality.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/how-to-easily-convert-youtube-music.html

If you want to convert your existing music, especially from apple devices, to mp3 so that the built in media player of your telly can play it, then refer on how to transform them into mp3 with this post using iTunes.

http://prakticality.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/why-cant-i-play-my-music-from-itunes.html


Top Smartphones for the Bargain Hunters

If you are looking for a smartphone but put off by high prices, then read on, you are in the right page. Here are the top of the line budget smartphones from the top manufacturers, and ofcourse, without the high tag price that keeping you out from deciding to have one. Cheaper as they are does not necessarily mean that they can not give you most of the functions of the more expensive versions and will not lag behind in performance as well.

The Mini


Mini me's are becoming popular and for the latest handsets and brands. If you could not get the full blown version because of budget restrictions, then the mini's are the best alternative. If you are a Samsung fan, there is an available mini's of their top selling S3 and S4. The lower specs minis might be short on power, but they are more cute than their big brothers. The trimmed down overall size is more attractive to mobile users who prefer to operate mobiles with one hand.

Best Price for the S3 Mini


Best Price for the S4 Mini
Pay Monthly and Pay Monthly Upgrade = £25 to £26
Pay As You Go= NotAvailable
Unlocked £389





Best Price for the S4 Mini


Pay Monthly and Pay Monthly Upgrade =£15
Pay As You Go £249 + £10 Top Up
Pay As You Go Upgrade £229
Unlocked £259




The "Just Replaced" Versions


Nothing can beat the older version prices specially when a new  variant arrives. They can be cheap as chips, half price, or can be bundled with goodies and extras that are hard to resist. If you are patient to wait until a new variant becomes available, say at least 1 to 2 years wait, then you won't be disappointed. As the price will surely drop. Like the Samsung S3, for those who have waited, this is the time to get one . Now you can get it only for £17 per month monthly tariff from the original £35, or buy it SIM Free for only £287.95 from almost £400 tag price when it first hit the shelves. The catch is, you need to be hurry to get offers like this as they do not last long. Click on the photo below before it runs out!



The Cheaper Alternatives


They are always cheaper than the leading brands but can give users the same specifications and enjoyment, like the Huawei P6. At 6.18mm thickness, it is considered the slimiest smartphone in the world to date. Like the Samsung S4, it has a Quadcore processor running at 1.5GHZ, with 4.7 inch screen. Like the newest apple mobiles, it also takes micro-SIM card. If you like the looks and feel of the all aluminium frame of Blackberry Z10, then you will not miss it with the Ascend P6. It is constructed with aluminium alloy frame and back cover that gives it's very light 125 grams weight. It also has the essential connectivity of most smartphones like wi-fi, bluetooth, and hotspot function except NFC. I am not personally dismayed with this as I do not see much of practical application for this function at the moment. And at only £21 per month tariff with this new release, and a free silicon bumper cover included, it is a sure bargain.




Sunday, 7 July 2013

The Latest Galaxy S4 Range

It started with the S4, then the S4 mini. Now there are other variants of this superb new addition of the Galaxy S4 family. The S4 flagship has gone further to give users the best experience and stretched it's menu to satisfy the tongue of smartphone fans with different tastes. The competition has the edge over water damage problems by introducing water proof devices, the S4 has an answer to this. Others boast advance camera hardware, and Samsung   answered back with 10x optical zoom. And for phablet fans, the S4 has unveiled a device with 6 inch screen.

The S4


The original variant needs no introduction. It's the latest Galaxy mobile phone range so far.  It has a 5 inch Full HD AMOLED screen for ultra clear viewing of coloured contents, whether it's a photo or  video. It takes "talking photos" with Sound & Shot. And can share your music and photos to a friend's device and simultaneously play them with Group Play. And an option to do these all without touching the device and controlling it with  Air Gesture. The built-in Infra Red transmitter hardware lets you control TV's and other devices. This smartphone has more to offer than the rivals.

Samsung S4
More details for the Samsung S4 


The S4 mini


Those who are put off to larger screens and want to operate their phones with just one hand, a mini me of the original is available. Built with a lower screen resolution and lower built in memory, 8GB instead of 16GB of the S4, it virtually posseses all of the qualities of it's bigger brother. Powered with a dual core 1.7GHZ and 1.5GB of RAM, this specification is not far away from the quad core 1.9GHZ and 2GB RAM of the S4. It is NFC enabled and also has the ability to control TV's with the WatchOn application.

                    Samsung S4      and      Samsung S4 Mini


The S4 Active


A rival introduced a dust and water proof smart phone earlier this year that somewhat stole the limelight for a moment, specially to the active users. This time, Samsung came up with it's own version of a tough phone. It can be used underwater for 30 minutes without worry of water damage. And with AquaMode on, for the first time you can enjoy taking photos and videos whilst under water. 


Samsung S4 Active
View the latest tariff for the S4 Active here


The S4 Zoom

Adding more feature to the already good spec camera, Samsung squeezed in a real zoom lense, the first of it's kind in the smartphone world, to give users 10 times optical zoom, rather than the usual digital zoom offered by most handsets.  This is something excessive to my ears but it can be a nice music to photo enthusiasts that are waiting for a product like this.


Samsung S4 Zoom
Samsung S4 Zoom
Coming Soon

See prices from ebay.


The S4 Mega

The crossover between a tablet and a mobile phone, though this is not the first from Samsung because of the bulkiness of earlier product, this product has a massive 6.3 inches screen and tops the scale of only 199 grams. The bigger screen is better for viewing entertainment contents and has an advantage over smaller S4's  when enabling multi-window mode.

Samsung S4 Mega
See the lowest tariff for Samsung Mega here.


Whatever type of mobile user are you,  there is something available tailored for you.  See more details, availability and prices of the different variants HERE. And if you have chosen your device already, find your accessories below.


Friday, 5 July 2013

Wirelessly Transfer Data From SD Card and USB Stick to iPhone and iPad Without Using Computer

Memory card and USB stick data storage are the easiest way to stow away digital files. They are the most convenient device to carry, because of their size, and they are universally accepted as a storage for almost all of electronic devices. Convenient as it is to use and store data from them, sometimes it is not when extracting or transferring data because you will need a reader, cable and a computer to make the transfer. Especially when you are planning to export data on apple mobile devices, you do need to install iTunes in addition, to view images and videos from the storage to an iphone or ipad.

For SD Card fed devices, there is a new breed of memory card that is available to address this shortcoming. It is called, Eye-Fi memory card. It transmits data through wi-fi, cutting the need for wires and computers to make a data transfer. Clever, but this device at this time, costs so much. And at the moment, there is no product that has a built in wifi on a USB stick.

Advert from eBay Partners: Eye-fi memory cards





An alternative solution is to transform memory card into wi-fi transfer capable. This means, an ordinary memory card  that you are using from a digital camera, mobile phone and other devices can transfer its data wirelessly using wi-fi, just like the eye-fi. As this is a host device, you can make any SD card wireless capable without necessary upgrading into an eye-fi. There is also a port that can accommodate USB stick that can make any USB storage into wi-fi capable storage.

APOTOP Wireless Card Reader


The Apotop Wi-Reader is 100% compatible with your iPad or iPhone without the need for iTunes.



The Wi-Reader is extremely compact and comes equipped with a embedded rechargeable battery without the need for an external power supply, making the Wi-Reader the ideal travel companion. It has a port for an SD Card, USB stick, RJ45, and another USB port for mains power. It is also simple to use. Just download the Wi-Reader app to your iPhone or iPad at the iTunes Store. Then connect your mobile or tablet device to the Apotop Wi-Reader wirelessly via Wi-Fi. Now you can click on the app from your device and your data will be available to view and play on your iPhone or iPad.


Advert from eBay Partners: Apotop Wi-Reader



Click and See Video On How It Works Below 





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