Wednesday, 31 December 2014

New Year, New Phone Gimmick!

Discover More!
It's 2015! With the saturated mobile world, what would be the next thing to entice fans to spend another dollar or pounds to buy a new one, whilst the new apple 6 has just making it's way to the top of the basket checkout  list? So after the battle of big screens,which apple decided and have been subdued that this really an important game tactic for users, and totally incomprehensible list of functions that in the real world we do not have use of, what's next?

Here's a phone manufacturing company that thinks differently from the other top brands. Although their product has been around for a year or  two, it has not been properly globally introduced, but to certain countries. But I bet the top brands are already studying it's design if it causes another threat to mobile domination, that could make their engineers in thinkering what to do better with this new phone concept. What's special about this phone is, it has two faces!

Yes it does, face A is a normal typical smartphone and when you turn it over, the B side is an extension of the smartphone's notification center. And the trick bit in here is it uses electronic paper display (EPD) like those found on e-book readers. EPD's are known for energy efficiency and readability even when under a bright sunlight. This new generation of smart phone is called Yotaphone. The name may not be the coolest you have heard of and can mean something to "ilocanos" like me, but here are the practical reasons why I would like to buy it.

Being Android.


It does operate under google's android mobile operating system, which has it's advantages over the competition. Like the ability to install third party applications that is banned by other OS unless you pay a gamble to freely cut off the ties on it's operating system that most users have never thought of it doing. Paid for Android apps, as far as I can remember, are cheaper than other OS, and would not worry about the shortages but the capacity of the phone's memory. And not just apps that it has the advantages of, the user's interface can be customized to make the environment lokkk like an apple, blackberry or windows phone. Not to mention than it also supports cross flat form development that means developers using other codes can easily release a version of android faster than other OS.



Battery life.


This is the first thing that struck my mind, as my phone has developed a strong affection to the mains. I usually charge everyday, as I want the battery to be at least 80% full when I go out. This is also because of my oncall duty to make my mind at peace knowing that I can be called 24hours. The second screen of this phone is made up of EPD which is efficient in using power resource.

Running an android operating system can be battery hungry but transfering the  phone function to the EPD screen  and turning on yotaenergy  mode will add at least 4 more hours to use smartphone functions. This is brilliant. This also means you can finish what you are doing or not to prematurely terminate a call because of low battery.



Readability.


Smartphone acreens are all lovely specially with new models, but the one thing I hate about them is the difficulty of reading under the sunlight. No matter how much squinting, the bright sunlight takes over the show. With the EPD, it's just like reading a print from a newspaper. So under bright sunshine, just turn it over and use this screen. Although it is in monocolour, this does not matter as reading the message or accessing the phone book with ease is more important.

Watch video.





Summary features.

Operating SystemAndroid Kitkat
CoreQuadCoreSpeed2.3GHz
Screen5 inchesCamera8 & 2 Mp
Int Memory32GBRAM2GB
Ext MemoryNot supported

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Practical Photo File Keeping

Which file clutter most inside a computer or any device? Photos! As it is so easy to take them and the devices to take photos are just so accessible, we are overflowing with it. And most of us keep these files  inside computers. Transferring digital data is so easy but to remember which folder where we keep them is the problem. Basically, keeping is easy and retrieving is a pain, specially photo's. This is always causing me headaches specially when looking for a file that has not been accessed for quit sometime. Actually the problem's root happens when we first save it, so it is then necessary to solve the problem from the beginning. How?

Adopt date folder naming.

 Let's take for example the 'Pictures' folder. Usually, we name photo folders by the place they are taken,  the name of the occassion or some other names . As we attend more gatherings, visit more places, and take more photos with more people, the 'Photos' folder will soon be a collection  of random names of places, occassions, persons, etc. It will easily become a cluttered 'Photos' folder and will be so confusing to find the exact picture you are looking for.

To avoid this, start a folder and name it as a 'year' (1) , then a subfolder with the month(2, don't forget to put number before the name of the month for easier sorting) then another sub folder with the date(3) when the picture is taken. It will be very easy to retrieve photos and to remember which folder you've put the photos. It will also make your explorer window tidy.


Sunday, 30 November 2014

Surf in Panoramic Mode

Browsers usually show one web page at a time. This is a similar situation on every browsers that I have tried and used. Although this is absolutely OK for everyday internet surfing, but sometimes this is not enough for some situations.

Ever done internet shopping and comparing prices from websites? To do this, we usually toggle from the opened tab to see similar items from different websites. There's nothing wrong with it but personally, I want to see these items side by side. Although there is a way to get round to it like opening two browsers and minimizing both windows to sit side by side . This takes a few more click and it seems like it is unnatural thing to do. Has the browser makers did not think of this and make an update so that we have this function  when we browse?

A new comer in the browser wars has acknowledge this shortcoming and made a new application that can do exactly like this.  And not only that, it is also  fast and worth a try

Download Polybrowser here.

Features.


1. Tab Browsing

Like the popular browsers, it supports multiple tabs(1) that can be opened in one browser window. The tabs can be dragged and positioned as you wish to keep your searches together.

2. Stiched Web Pages

The versatility of the stiched style of web pages is you can control the size of any of the windows so that the screen can accommodate more sites. This is useful when comparing like in shopping or researching for information. It is easy to change the width by dragging the middle of the stich(2) to either way. You can then navigate to each window by using the sliders(4) or by the arrow keys on your keyboard. The slider at the bottom of the screen will let you see all opened tabs like viewing a panorama picture.




3. Supports Multiple Search Engines

The program uses it's built in search engine, PolyFetch, which is powered by google but with a different interface. If you are not comfortable using it, you can easily change(3) it to popular engines like google or bing by customizing it.

4. Easy Access

Recently visited sites are usually tucked away on popular browsers. Polybrowser cleverly shows all visited sites on it's home tab. You can easily pin, launch or delete this pages(5) by clicking the corresponding button that appears when you hover your mouse over the thumbnail. Another clever thing that it does is it groups (6) similar websites into one speed launcher shortcut automatically.




Early Experience

Poly browser is still on it's early stage and it will need improvements as it goes. And here are some.

Polyfetch. It seems like it defaults to US contents. When I search for iphone 6, the search results show US apple store and other telecommunication companies in the US. As I am in the UK, this is not at all relevant to me. To get around it, I did put UK at the end of my search word.

Compatibility to Blogger. Whilst doing a post on the blogger flatform, I opened up two polybrowser tabs that show my edit page and a link site. Copying the link from the other site is not a problem but going to the edit page of blogger to paste it will not let me do it. The paste command is greyed or not active.

Having encountered these problems, I think the concept of this application is aimed for users to assist them and simplify complex tasks. But it does need to address these issues as users can easily change hearts when a vital function is missing. 

Sunday, 23 November 2014

How To Outsmart Hackers on Text Files 2

Another way of hiding text file from hackers is to 'hide the texts inside a photo file code'. Not like physically hiding it by making it look like the background colour but by 'incorporating it' inside a code of a file! It does sounds complicated but it is not. You can do it very easy without the need of an expensive software. Here's what you will need.

  • A photo that you do not mind destroying or losing.
  • The Notepad program.

Here's what you will do.

1. Find a suitable photo.

A suitable photo is something you do not need and would not be sorry if you will lose it. Any photo file is OK. The larger the file size, the better.


2. Make the file extension visible.

In windows, the file extension is usually hidden. To make it visible whilst the folder of the file is opened in the windows explorer, go to Tools(2)>FolderOption(3)>then untick 'hide extensions for known file types'.  The file extension will show after you click apply.


3. Edit the photo extension to txt.

Right click(5) on the photo you want to use and choose rename(6) to edit the extension (in this case jpg) and replace the extension (7) to txt.


4. Open it the file.

Txt files are opened in default by the Notepad program. Double click to open it. The photo is now converted into codes(9). You can pick any where to type and hide your sensitive text file inside the code then save it.



 Allow the change by clicking yes. The file icon will transform to txt icon which looks suspicious.



5. Revert the name of the extension

You need to rename the extension file from txt. to jpg by following step 3. Just click yes(11) at the pop up prompt and the icon will be transformed(12).



6. You're done.

When somebody will click on the file, an error message will pop up. This will mimick a corrupted picture file and this will not make it look like something important to hackers and others. So this will not be a target for their suspicious eyes because only you will know what's inside it. You can read the file again by renaming (step 3) the file extension to txt and double click it to open.


Or you can right click on it and click Open With(13)>Choose Default Program(14)Click the '+' sign to expand choices(15)>Choose Note Pad(16)>untick the 'always use...'(17) then OK.


Saturday, 22 November 2014

How To Outsmart Hackers on Text Files 1

Hackers has one purpose, to "get in" without permission.  Clever already as they are, they become more clever everyday in dodging internet security softwares and antivirus programs. Like a virus in the real world, they dodge these "vaccines" by creating a different strain of themselves. Eventually, these vaccines will catch up again with them in due time, as security experts also take time in identifying and making a profile for the said infection or applying a patch to loopholes that the hackers learn and gain control of.

Scary as it is, but regular users like you and me can outsmart hackers with  practical computing skills. We can keep our sensitive files away from their watchful eyes even when they are able to gain access with our computers. I personally do this by camouflaging my files. And here's how.
 

Camouflaging

If you are forgetful or you have several log ins to several sites like emails, social media, banks, etc, then chances are sometimes you mix up your passwords and usernames. This confusion can lead to an account being locked out and  the recovery is painful specially when you also forgot the security answers on your account.

This happened to me many times and the obvious solution to this is to write it down somewhere. The most common place to write it down and hide this is inside the computer. And when hackers gain access to your computer, havoc begins. Outsmart them by making this passwords and user names "invisible" by camouflaging them.

The tool needed for this is already inside your computer. Access it on windows by clicking Start>AllPrograms>Accessories>Paint .

1.  Make a camouflaged text area, Click fill icon(1), Choose a black(2) background (if it has not been selected as default colour), then move your cursor to the empty area then left click(3) to fill. You can save this at his point or just minimise it.



 2.  Type your text on a text editor. (Start>All Programs>Accessories>Notepad)
The reason to do this is so that you can type and edit easier. Notepad is a basic text program that opens up quicker than other office suites.

After typing the texts, highlight it all then right click, and copy(4).



3.Make a camouflaged text colour
Go back to the saved camouflaged text area and define a text colour that is almost exactly the same as the background. Click Edit colour(5), then slide the slider(9)  up until the values come up to 7 (7). Then click OK.



4. Paste it.
After setting the text colour, click the font icon, drag the slider to cover the canvas, then click paste.


5. Here's the camouflaged file. In the first look, the canvas doesn't seem like hiding anything. Hackers do not expect you to hide something in here unless they know you have sensitive data on it. Just like leaving a spare key to under the  unsuspecting  rug or flowet pot.



6. How to read it.
 Just go to the fill icon(11) again, change the first colour to white(12) (change it byhighlighting it first and click a white colour on the pallette(12.2)), point your fill button(13) at any edge  of the canvas, making it sure to avoid any part of the text, then left click to fill.











Monday, 10 November 2014

Spy On Your Kid's Phone

Have you ever wondered as your kids grow up, the more secretive they become? They like to stay in their rooms most of the time. Annoying as it may seem but you do not see them often even when they are at home. They lock away themselves pretending to be busy with their lessons. But I bet they are busy with something else, with their phones! And most often they are chatting or texting with their friends.

This activity is not bothering me at all, because I know every number that my teen daughter calls, numbers that called her, numbers that she sent and received texts from. Even when she erases the call logs from her phone, still I can retrieve it. This is even without touching her phone, physically. Here's how.

1. Sign up to the network's account online.


The good thing about network providers is it is easy to set up an account with them. And they keep sensitive information about your call habits and everything is accessible online. Even sim cards on pay as you go tariff can be registered on the network's website. And if you do this, you can have an access on all communication traffic that occurred. This means even your kid erases the logs on her phone, you can trace the communication trail like calls, text messages and even data usage. Another benefit of this is you can see how much she has spent. On accounts with contract, you can see the call activities without waiting for the paper bill on the post by going to the unbilled usage tab.


2. Sign up to find my mobile account.


Check if your phone manufacturer has an extra service like finding your lost mobile. You can use google to search for this. I believe iCloud of Apple provides the same service. And if you have given your kid a samsung mobile, then you're in luck as samsung has this extra service.

What it does is it can trace back all calls that happened in the phone. Even if your kid changes sim cards. All forms of communication will be reflected on the account. And this can be accessed online whenever you need to see who she is calling or sending messages to.

If you have not set up a samsung account yet, you need to do that in her phone. Just get an excuse to set this up, 'say you need to install an anti theft software'. The samsung account is actually an anti theft service that will let you lock, erase the contents of your phone in case it gets lost. Or send a message to your phone even if the thief has taken out your sim or doesn't put any sim in it.

Here's how to set up.


1. Go to Accounts
  • Settings>General>under Accounts and Backup choose Accounts)
2.  Tap add account(2) and choose Samsung account(3) from the list. Then set up an account by providing a gmail email and a password of your choice. Make sure your password consists of a number, alphabet and a special character.
  • You may need to update samsung services if this is the first time you've accessed this feature

3. Activate remote control

Settings>General>Security>Remote Controls (under find my mobile)> and enter your Samsung Account password

4. You can confirm that it is activated by the green slider button(3) to the right.



Access samsung account online.

On your laptop goto
  • http://findmymobile.samsung.com/login.do
You can check the call logs by clicking this button(4). And depending if the mobile is online and how fast the data connection is, you can see your kid's communication activity here.


On your mobile Settings>General>Security>go to find my mobile webpage (under find my mobile) then sign in. The same with the PC version, you can see the call logs as long as your kid's phone is online.








Sunday, 9 November 2014

How To 'Download' ABS-CBN Content?

A pinoy friend has asked me the other day how he can download videos from ABS-CBN TFC.TV site. Knowing that this is a subscription site and there is no download button to press except play, I told him 'I can't'! Then he reminded me a post that says just that. He was referring to an old post that mentioned about downloading a content, although it was not the main topic, " how to reduce windows media player from buffering".

He was right. During the early days of ABS.CBN, the download button was still there. Now that it is  gone, and the URL of the streamed contents are hidden on Java Scripts or Active Scripts to prevent downloading a copy.

But an alternative is available if he really wants to own a copy of the videos or wants to play the same content offline. It is a bit complicated and needs patience. This is to record it on the fly, whilst the video is playing!

Note: This post is just to point out that there are still ways to copy videos in a creative way using free softwares. This is not meant to encourage readers to record without the copywrite owner's permission.

The Any Video Recorder.


This program basically records everything on your screen. You can also 'trim' the record window  to capture just the part of the screen you want to record. And the best part is, the output file is on MP4, so it can be played on virtually any device and any operating system.

Download the software from the link below and you need to install the bundled audio program to make it work.

http://any-video-recorder.com/


How to use it.

  •  Download, install and run Any Video Recorder software to your PC.
  • Under general settings(A) you can specify the directories(1,2) you want the videos to be saved in default by clicking browse or you can leave it as it is. For easier video search,  define the output video name(3).


  • Under video settings(B) you can also customize the output video quality and performance (4,5)according to your preference or according to your hardware capability. The higher number of bitrate and framerate, the clearer and smoother the resulting recorded video. But this needs higher processing power as well. You can experiment with the default numbers(25 and 6000) to start with.
  •  Click Record Now button to start recording videos


  • Navigate to your TFC.TV stream. The software should automatically detect the stream and open the recording interface. You can then manually set the area(7) for video recording. You can limit the recording by specific time(10) or choose automatic stop(11) Press the red "REC"(9) button to begin recording.
  •  You can pause(12) the video being recorded or stop the recording manually by pressing the button(13)

You can access the recorded video from the output directory that you have specified. Now you can easily play, copy  or transfer to view it from other devices.



Saturday, 8 November 2014

Use 64-bit Browser To Improve Surfing Experience

Handhelds dominates the world of gadgets because of their portability and use anywhere functionality, but practicality wise, I still prefer to surf the net properly, with a laptop, that has a full sized keyboard and larger screen than any handheld device. A problem that usually put off windows users is the fact that this product can't be left alone to stay in tip toe condition. As we use it each day, it becomes slower. And tidying and clearing up the files and folders to make it work faster become a tiring chore.

Another way of making our surfing experience faster is by using a 64-bit browser. You do need a 64-bit system to install it thought. 

How to know if  it is a 64-bit system?

1. If your laptop or computer is at least 3 years old, and if it has 4GB or more of RAM, then this might be compatible. 

2. You can also check it by clicking start(1), right clicking computer(2), then properties(3) and look under system(4).




Here's two of my favourite 64-bit browsers

If your system is 64-bit, then you are ready to download one or both of these superb browsers.
If you have one of them already and you are not sure if it is 64-bit, go to the menu(5), about (6), then you'll see which version (7) you have on the next page.



Why use 64-bit browsers?

64-bit browsers can process more memory (RAM) than 32-bit counterparts. The 32-bit can only process 3.7 RAM at a given time no matter how much RAM is installed in your system. The 64-bit goes beyond that. This means more data is processed at a given time. Also take note that websites are adding more and more codes every time that translates additional data to process at a given time. The faster these data is processed, the faster the page to load.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

How To Disconnect Your Kid's Device From Your Wi-Fi Discreetly

Having a wi-fi access has given us the convenience of online activity anywhere as long as the signal range permits. Juggling bills, shopping, being entertained and communicating can be done in less the hassle, effort and time.

But convenience has a price to pay, specially when your kids go online most of the time and telling them off has no effect. The  most effective way of censoring or monitoring their online activity maybe is by taking away the gadget and just give it to them when they really need it for school works. I find this also as the drastic way that leaves frown face at your back. I also admit that I did this several times and failed because I myself is a forgetful person( I forgot where I hide things). Turning off the router might sound as a good idea, but it is not. I run into problem the last time I turned it off, and spent half of my day fixing the wi-fi signal not working after turning it on. And one more problem is, all of us will not have an internet access.

So instead of hiding it every time I want them to stop, or turning the router off and leaving everybody without internet, I just control their devices not to connect by using the router's setting.


Here's how to do it.

My internet provider is sky, but the steps I will do is identical or almost the same to every router.

1. Log in to your router.


First is to see the default gateway. The default gateway is the ip address of your router in the form of numeric value. Whilst your computer is connected either by wire or wireless, click the start button (1) and type cmd(2) at the search box. Click cmd.exe(3) and at the command prompt, type 'ipconfig' (4)(without the qoutes) then press enter.

Scroll down until you see the wireless adaptor and wireless network connection.  See the value of default gateway(5), which is 192.168.0.1 in this case. Open a browser and type the number at the address bar. You can type it as it is or add 'http://192.168.0.1'(without the qoutes) then press enter.

Before you can proceed, you need to enter the default username and password(7), then log in(8) The default gateway can be obtained from the internet provider or written on a sticker somewhere on the router or you can search it online.


Common default router usernames and passwords

CompanyUser NamePassword
Aoladminpassword
BTadminadmin or password
Skyadminsky
Virginyour.name@adsl.virgin.netadmin


2. Choose device to disconnect 


 Once you have gained access into your router, click  wireless(9) so you can set up the preferred devices to connect to your router. Click set up access list(10) to activate access control menu.

 You can now tick the devices that you want to have an access to your router from the available wireless stations then click add. You need to repeat this several times as it only allow one selection at a time.



You may need to know the ip address or MAC address of the device you do not want to have wi-fi access.

On android go to settings>about device>status>wifi MAC address.

On iPhones go to settings>general>about


All wireless devices that you've allowed to connect to your router are listed under trusted wireless stations. When you are happy you can now tick turn access control on(11). The device that is not included in the list will no longer connect through your home router.

You can reverse this restriction by unticking the access control button.



Monday, 3 November 2014

Why My Internet Is Slow?


There are many factors affecting the speed of the internet(home broadband and data powered handheld devices), like the bandwidth the internet company provides, the number of connected devices and how powerful is the device to access the web. If the problem lies on one of these factors then we can not do much about it. But if it just day by day  gradually becoming slow then the problem might can be solved.
(For Windows XP, Vista, 7, & 8)

Why surfing become so slow?

Assuming that you do not have problem with the bandwidth, not too many devices sharing the router, and using not so old system, most of the time the problem lies with your browser. What happens is every time it visits a website, it gets dirty. Like a pair of boots that walked into a muddy field. This mud that accumulated in it's soles make it struggle to connect and bring the latest content of the site you want to visit. These "mud "consists of cookies, web histories, and add ons like useless search engines, shopping bots, and extensions. And if you use multiple browsers, then these "mud" is multiplied as much as the number of browsers you are using. As they are just grime at the sole of the  boots, they need to be eliminated to improve the surfing speed.

How to remove it?

You can manually clean the browsers one by one and cherry pick which one to delete or all at once in one interface by using a free software, the Auslogic Browser Care. This cleans the "mud" from top browsers like internet explorer, chrome and firefox.

How to use Auslogic Browser Care?

Begin with downloading the program at http://www.auslogics.com/en/software/, just scroll down to the browser care download link. Once installed, you need to close the browser you want to clean.

1. Click the browser(1) you want to clean and make sure it is closed or not active before you proceed.


2. From the interface you can see other browsers that are compatible with the program(6).

3. You can easily start cleaning the grimes and extensions you do not use. Cache and internet histories (2) which the browsers bring home whilst surfing the web, can be easily removed by just ticking the corresponding buttons and clicking clear data.

4. Add ons(4) that can be accumulated without your knowledge whilst downloading free apps or viewing movies can be safely removed by just selecting it from the list and clicking the bin icon at the far end of each entry. You have also the option to only disable it.

5. Homepage hijackers(5) can also be removed by choosing default from the drop down menu. The same applies when your search engine has been changed.


Sunday, 26 October 2014

Get Rewarded Buying Presents This Christmas

This is the dreaded time of the year in terms of finances, buying christmas gifts for the family and friends. Yes, there are budget presents but the next thing to consider is the number of persons to give gifts to. Pinoys are known to please as much as they can, not just the immediate family but from the "inaanak" (god child), kumpare's and kumare's (very close friends) and so on. So before dipping very deep into your pockets fellow Pinoys, there is a way to get "rewarded" buying gifts this Christmas, or at least a way to get percentage off on virtually every purchase you will make. It could be in the form of cashbacks, purchase points and discounts.

Get more loyalty points.


Whether online shopping or actual shopping is concerned, use your credit card for all of your transactions. Not only that you are covered with faulty merchandise, but of fraud as well. Credit cards also offer loyalty points, like the Nectar credit card, which you will earn nectar points in using it. If you have a nectar loyalty card, then using it along with your nectar credit card will earn you double points instead of only one from participating nectar loyalty card stores. Your nectar credit card on the other hand, can earn nectar points in virtually all stores including those with no affiliation to nectar loyalty card.

A promo under this card is just on time for the holidays. When you spend £2000 worth of products from the moment you opened your Nectar credit card, you will earn 20, 000 nectar points. This is equivalent to £100 that you can spend to participating stores like Argos, Sainsburys and among others.

Asda credit card on the other hand, gives you a cashback of 1pence for every £1 spend in store or online including george.com, and flexibility of paying it interest free for 6 months for purchases £200 worth or more.

Get More Shopping Points

 Asda's 6 months zero interest + points   Collect more nectar points

Use supermarket and stores with loyalty cards 


If you are a fashion fan, stores like Outfit offers a mastercard that can give you upto 70% of savings. You will also have the the exclusive card holder only discounts for a further 20% discount on top of any existing discount. Get your exclusive invitations here.

Boots loyalty card is the most generous in terms of giving points. You'll receive 4points for every £1 spend in store or online. As a card holder, you will be the first to know about their special promos like half price products, buy 3 for the price of two and so on. Get the advantage card here.

Use social buying sites


Groupon, wowcher and other group buying sites provide lower prices compared to the real retail value of goods and services. You could get a treat of up to 90% off.

On top of this, the site also offers an incentive for existing users to invite their friends to become members and earn at least £5 for every referral. Not only that you're helping them save but you could earn a substantial amount for your effort as well. See the site for more details.


Cashback websites


May it be topcashback, quidco,  nhscashback and similar sites, they offer cashback on every purchase made when you use their links. This is the new face of affiliate site that was only accessible to webmasters before. Online costumers and all web users can now participate as an "affiliate" without the need for a website to earn something from their purchases. You can grow as much as £1000 in comission on the things you normally buy and all services you virtually need when you use this sites. I myself have accumulated almost £500 by purchasing my home and car insurance, buying my pay monthly phone, health and beauty products using this sites.

How to join and get cashback..

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Which one is better, wired or wireless connection?

Devices have gone a long way. It is no longer the user that can command them, but by another device as well. Connectivity among devices have improved along the years, beginning with the humble wire, then infra red, bluetooth, wi-fi, NFC and other connections. These connections have their own weaknesses and strong points, and I would like to share my experiences with these connections according to the situation I find it very suitable for each.

Internet Connection


For Laptops/ Pc's


My PC is a windows XP. It doesn't have a built in Wi Fi receiver. So I have one installed. The connection to get internet is OK, but sometimes the Wi-Fi receiver has some issues. So I tend to uninstall and reinstall it which is tiring when you are doing it again and again. To permanently solve the problem, I bought a wired mini powerline ethernet adapter. It is plug and play, no password to set, and you are ready to go with simple push on the buttons.

Even my laptop has problems using Wi-Fi upstairs. The Wi-Fi station is downstairs. It seems connected (the icons at the tray bar for wi-fi and internet connections are all OK), but could not connect to theinternet. This usually cause by how far you are from the station, the obstacles that physically blocks the Wi-Fi signal and the congested Wi-Fi channel. I also observed that using registry cleaners can sometimes mess up with internet connections. With these possible causes, it causes some sweat to figure it out and some more sweat to fix it.

My one fix in this situation is the same wired powerline ethernet adaptor, with no sweat to fall!

See Similar Listings



For Mobile


Mobiles do not have ethernet ports, so the real winner for me here is the Wireless-Fidelity connection.

Printers.


I prefer my printer connected to Wi-Fi rather than USB or other wired connectivity. One of the  reasons is the location of the printer. We kept it in the masters bedroom, because it can be abused by the kids when it is in easy access. The drivers can be messed up rendering you to reinstall it again whether you use it wired or wirelessly, the convenience of being able to print wherever you are is just very convenient.

Playing Music


At Home


If your music is on your computer or mobile device, you can stream this to your stereo with the following methods, as long as your device and stereo support it. Through Wi-Fi, bluetooth or wire 3.5mm connector. Not all stereos have wireless capabilities including mine. So I usually use apple TV to stream it over Wi-Fi connection. Bluetooth dongle is also fine when streaming other music not included in the iTunes library. But I find these connections complicated specially when you have multiple devices and accounts with other family members. To simplify this, I use the 3.5mm connection that can accommodate any devices, accounts and libraries without any problems.

In The Car


My car is an old model and do not have a native bluetooth connectivity.  But I do not deny that I have been using bluetooth connection to connect my music inside the car using a bluetooth FM transmitter. There's no problem with the connection but the setting up and playback is sometimes fiddly. The car radio is sensitive, that can be caused by already congested FM signals  including the bluetooth FM transmitter in the car. So getting a free frequency with less noise is not easy. Sometimes the transmitter can relay the sound of the car or can be affected by merely turning on the aircon or lights!

I am so pleased that the car has a 3.5mm port at the dashboard to use. This means just plug in the cable without any worries of interference or finding a better carrier frequency. The phone's battery will also stay longer as it doesn't use as much power as to using bluetooth connection.

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Playing Movies


I do not want to be disturbed when watching movies specially when I am at home. I just want to sit down the sofa and get lazy, only to getup when fetching a drink or "emptying" those drinks. So remote controls are essential. When the movie is contained in a laptop or apple mobile devices, I prefer using Wi-Fi connection  with apple TV to stream over the TV screen.  Rather than using a HDMI connector, connecting it wirelessly gives me the freedom and convenience of controlling it while walking around or stationary at the sofa.

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The answer then to this topic depends on what you are doing and your personality. If you are a techie person and loves to solve problems and experiment things, wireless is for you. And if you just like simple things that works without the sweat and do not mind being tangled with cables, then use the uncomplicated wired connection for you.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Best Ever Program To Speed Up Windows

No matter what version of Windows you've had, have or will have in the future, chances are it becomes slow as time passes. It gets old and so is it's reflexes. This is usually the never ending frustration that home windows users experience. And as a home user, this is more frustrating as we do not know what's causing it. Online helps tell you to defrag, de clutter, look for malwares, clean registry and so on, but this do not make sense to a clueless typical owner.

But this doesn't mean you should switch to another operating system  specially when budget is an issue. There is still a way to speed up the snail paced performance without dipping very dip into your pocket.

The Advance Syatem Care 7 Free


This is a computer optimisation program that is designed to speed up your system. It cleans the registry, junks, looks for malware and so on in one single click. My computer does suffer from slow startup and hard to wake up browsers. Using it made these problems a thing in the past.

Installation

You can download it from http://www.iobit.com/products.html.

To get the free version, click on the products tab(1) and choose the free version(2).


How to use it

Under the first tab, Care(3), are the optimization functions that it can execute in one click. You just need to tick(4) the features you want to add before clicking the scan(5).


The scanning will take sometime depending on the features you have ticked and how many problems (6) it will identify. You can tick(7), automatically repair while the scan is going to automatically repair problems, or you can choose to manually repair it later if you want to know the details of the errors first.



The turbo boost (8) works on the RAM. It has three levels of  optimization. The work mode terminates unnecessary services and applications not related to what you are working on to give you a better speed. The gaming mode terminates non windows systems and services to give a boost to gaming experience. There is also the economy mode that helps to extend battery life specially when your laptop is away from the mains.

The application also tells you the amount of RAM it frees up. The applications and services terminated can be seen when you click details(9).





Sunday, 12 October 2014

3 Router Problems You Won't Believe Can Be Solved In Less Than 3 Minutes

My wife and I came home around 9am after fetching her from night duty work yesterday and decided to eat breakfast at home. The kids were still in their rooms so we shouted for them to come down and join us. As usual they did not comply immediately and I just knew why they were still in bed, busy with their phones doing internet stuff. So I decided to turn off the router by unplugging it from the mains. After a minute they were downstairs and joined us at the table. That confirmed that they were on their mobile devices. Whilst they were eating, I’d decided to plug in the router to warm up.

We spent at least 30 minutes eating and noticed that my phone was still not connected to our home Wi-Fi. The SSID was not broadcasting! Investigating further, the router's wireless (Wi-Fi) button was not lit up. Normally it should have been working after 2 minutes of turning it back on. So I tried to unplug and plug it again but it was still unlit. Only the power and the internet button were on. Interestingly, I did not have the problem of connecting to the internet with an Ethernet cable.  I attempted to log in to the ip gateway to see if the wireless function might have been disabled but the browser said, 'there has been changes to the network configuration...' so the router's command page was not showing.

I called sky and the technician started from the top, checking the line, the filter, the physical cord and toggling on and off, plugging and unplugging from the mains. There was no progress after 30 minutes of trying.

Then the technician asked me to press the reset button.  Yes of course, this should be the first attempt that I should have done. But I was thinking that if you unplug it from the mains, the router already resets itself. I was wrong.

Resetting is easy and depending on the kind of button the router has. Other models need a ball point pen or paperclip tip (2) to press the button and other models has an easier access (1) and just require your finger tip. Do not worry because the SSID and passkey are not affected with the reset. To reset, power it on then press the reset button until the lights turn off and the power button blinks then release.


After reset, the existing router problems were resolved.

1. The unlit (Wireless) Wi-Fi button light is now on.

After reset, the power button lit up followed by the wireless (Wi-Fi) button, then the internet button. The Wi-Fi has no problem broadcasting its SSID so that allowed devices automatically connect.

2. Reduced black spots/improved internet connectivity

Before this, there were a number of black spots (Wi-Fi weak connection problem) around the house when I am using my laptop although I do not have problem with mobile devices. It seemed that the only device that experiences a black spot in a particular place is my laptop. That was the reason I bought a power line wired connection. I was surprised that my laptop's ability to connect to the internet is better than before. 


The reset also resolved the connectivity of my windows laptop and the apple TV. It's been months that I have a problem streaming Windows movie content to an apple TV. Before when I try to connect to apple TV, my laptop says 'cannot detect apple TV in the network. Check Wi-Fi, make sure firewall allows appleTV..’ , even though both devices are connected in the same Wi-Fi, the same credentials  and apple TV is detected from the drop down list on my laptop’s  iTunes program!

Friday, 10 October 2014

The Smarter Smartphone

Most smartphones do have the same features and capabilities.Though others have more advanced specifications and hardware improvements, the Sony Experia range has gone further interms of practical and essential feature.

Distinct Feature


The introduction of waterproof on smartphones has been the most noticeable feature of the Sony brand.  Sony has gone further with a higher  waterproof and dustproof rating of IP65/68 on the new Experia Z3 unit.

The rating of the  phone means it can be kept at a depth of  1.5meters under water  up to 30 minutes without causing water damage. This is it's feature to beat with other big name companies. As other smartphones are shying away from the beach and other places with water involved, Z3 owners has no problem splashing and waddling  to record or snap away mementos on beach holidays or underwater shots.


 

Other interesting features.


5.2 Inch Screen

The bigger screen the better. It's becoming a norm to have a big screen smartphone. The Z3 is made of a 5.2 inch viewable screen. This is a massive screen that is better to show snaps, movies and be entertained. And also a friendlier screen to accomodate bigger fonts and buttons for easier navigation. Strained eyes can feel more relaxed with bigger screens.

Full HD

Big screen needs more pixels to keep the image looking good.The Z3 is no exception. A mesmerizing 1920x1080 pixels that equates to 424ppi will keep the still photos sharp and colourful. And with the incorporation of the latest and exclusive Sony diaplay technology meant for high end TV's , the triluminous display has been applied for the Z3 screen. It is coupled with the X- reality picture engine to give users a crispier and more colourful viewing experience.

20.7MP camera

The massive 20.7mp camera brings an exceptional photo details even after heavy cropping. The large 1/2.3” Exmor RS image sensor and the first mobile to have the highest ISO 12800 rating  ensures lesser noise with your snaps and outputs a smooth and much detailed still image even at dark without the aid of a flash. Moving image can be captured with a  4K Ultra HD resulotion,

Processor, Memory and Sim

The Z3 is powered by 2.5GHz quad core Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 801 processor. This speed ensures faster processing need specially when engaged with games. The faster the processor, the smoother and lag free your game is. The massive 3GB of RAM makes it possible to multitask with ease. It also comes with a native 16GB of storage and can be expanded upto 128GB with a micro SD card. If you are buying it SIM free, this phone takes a nano card.


PS4 Remote Play

Take advantage of it's fast processor and massive RAM by playing your favourite PS4 games without the need of a TV. Just pop your game on the PS4 console and using the same Wi-Fi connection, you can use your Z3 as a monitor to enjoy your game for as long as you are in the Wi-Fi range.







Saturday, 27 September 2014

The Note 4

The countdown in waiting for the new Note 4 will stop on the 17th of October. On this date is the scheduled distribution of the pre-ordered devices, which will come in 3 colours; charcoal black, frost white frost and bronze gold.

Comparison from previous version


Screen

Sporting the latest in screen display technology, the Note 4  has a Quad HD display compared to the Note 3's Full HD. Although the screen size is similar at 5.7inch , the Note 4 is more dense at 551 ppi compared to the 386 ppi design.  This means a sharper image even when you zoom it into the maximum. Better for image manipulation.

Camera

To take advantage of the generous screen pixels, Samsung also beefed up it's rear camera from the earlier 13Mp to 16 Mp. Even the front camera is overhauled from 2Mp to 3.7Mp, and has incorporated a Wide mode for selfie addict users.

Connectivity

All of the usual and new mobile connectivity is present with the Note 4. It has  4G,  802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, DLNA, MHL, a 3.5mm headset jack and Micro-USB.
The combination of 4G and Wi-Fi feature can download at a speed of  400Mbps. Although this is impressive, users need to watch out not to over spend  their data allowance.
OS, Processor and Ram

Kitkat is the latest Android operating system and it's been unusually around for quite a time. Although the Note 4 is flashed with this operating system, I bet that it would be the first Samsung phone to get the newest Android OS which name will start in L, if you logically follow Android's name pattern.

Samsung embedded the latest 2.7 GHz processor from it's favourite chip maker, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 model. The graphicc is also faster with the Adreno 420, however, it did not touched the capacity of it's 3GB RAM from the previous version.

Sim Card, Battery, Storage

It is surprising that the Note 4 remained loyal to the micro Sim (3FF) card form factor. It has a slightly better 3220mAh battery and an Ultra Power Saving Mode that can stretch a 10% battery into an impressive 24hours of life! Another impressive feature is it's fast charge mode that can top up 50% of battery  in 30 minutes from 0%. The Note 4 ships with 32GB of internal storage and can add some more with a micro SD card.

Price


It is expected to be pricey at it's first introduction, but it will go cheaper after a while. The cheapest cost of ownership for 2 years is to pay £129.99 upfront with £33 per month. The lowest tariff without any cash out is £43.50 but this sums up to £1044 in 2 years.


Click to see the cheapest tariff



Friday, 26 September 2014

What To Do When Mobile Phone Battery Is Drained

I bet everybody feels not complete without a mobile phone specially when going out! You can leave the wallet behind but not the phone. Being connected and knowing we can shout help at anytime give us a sense of security when we are out and about. But they can also leave us insecure and desperate when these things happens!

Drained battery!


Here's the situation I hate most. A phone that do not work because I forgot to plug in the socket overnight. An overlooked 30 second chore, plugging in the charger, could ruin the day with worries. The solution is just simple, plug it in! But when you are out and about, that's the problem. Specially when you do not have the necessary gear to do just that. Here are some tips you can do to recharge your phone.

Where to possibly recharge?

If you are in a mall or high street the best way to charge your phone is to get to a mobile phone or electrical products store with live phone displays. Most of the time the live phone displays are connected to a charger. You can use these chargers for your device, specially if you have a micro USB charger like android. I myself experienced charging my Note 3 with a normal micro USB (1) charger in store. This fits at the further right portion(2) of the Note 3 charge slot. Although descretion is always necessary!



If you happen to carry a USB charger cable, there are many laptop displays that you can use. Just pretend trying  the laptop's feature to avoid suspicion. It is also recommended to turn off your phone to maximize charging time.

In the unfortunate event that you do not have any access to this, then it is best to stop everything like Wi-Fi, Data, vibration mode etc. with your celphone expect the call function. If you are using android, it helps to end applications by going to active apps (3) by going to the active apps(4) menu then end all(5).  End background processess  by clearing the RAM (6) by pressing the clear memory(7) repeatedly until it says 0 applications closed(8).  And do not forget to dim your screen. This will let you stretch the remaining power until you get to the mains.



How to avoid this in the future?

Extra Battery

Invest in an extra battery pack and keep it charged as a back up. The best place to look for cheaper version is at eBay or Amazon. For as low as £3, you can have an extra peace of mind when going out. Or you can get those with extra capacity that can boost the uptime of your mobile for longer periods.

Power Pack Case

This product does two things. It protects and charges your device  at the same time. This is an alternative choice if you are put off in carrying extra battery or external power pack. It has a separate power supply and needs to recharge it before use.

Solar Battery Pack

If you like nature trips and will be away from the mains for sometime, then a solar back pack could save the day for you. It does not only give you clean and free power, but also to stash away your things. You will not need to worry about having no power and being away from the grid as it makes electricity until the sun sets.

There is a product that can be attached to an existing backpack or a backback with built in solar charger.

Solar Battery Pack Charger and Backpack Solar Charger



Monday, 22 September 2014

Get More From Vodafone International Credit

I've been a Vodafone international SIM card customer for more than a year but I did not know that I can get more from the service, perhaps because I do not read every small prints and adverts word for word. Or perhaps already contented with the tariff's offer of 60 minutes free international calls for every £10 top up.  This is the selling point why I have choosen Vodafone as Philippines is included in their free international allowance. It does not matter ifyou are calling mobile or land line. Other similar service from different networks no longer service Philippines with free allowance.


What do you get?


  • Freebee rewards.


Everytime you top up, you will get  freebee pointz. These points can be exchanged with freebee rewardz staright away or can be saved to accumulate enough pointz towards a bigger reward like a  new smartphone or TV.

  • Free international calls.

The 60  minutes free international calls can be used to the following countries. This list may change in the future but it is true at the time of this post.

The free minutes depends on how much you top up. The least minute is 60 for £10, 100 for £15 and 240 for £30. The catch is, you need to finish your minutes within a month otherwise it will expire.

  • You keep your balance.

If you only use your international minutes without placing local calls or texting, your balance will remain intact. This can be used to buy other services like extra minutes to use it locally, extra texts or data, and another international call bundles to destinations above. Dial 34443 to choose which extra to get.

  • Interesting extra bits.

Vodafone IOU

In situations like you are running low on credits, a service called IOU can let you borrow £3 top up. It needs activation and has a charge but it can be an emergency life saver in tight situations. Text IOU to 468 to opt in. Terms.

Buzzback

In case you do not like to owe anything when you are out of credit, you can let your friend to call you by sending a free text telling them to call you by sending your friend's number to 30303. Conditions.

Vodafone family

This is even more a budget saver. This features free calls to a party of 3 vodafone users with only one person paying. Each can make a call for free for 60minutes at one time. The trick not to pay extra is  to end the call before 60 minutes and dial again. Read terms and conditions.




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