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.




Saturday, 20 September 2014

Printer Can't Locate the Opened File

My colleague has problem printing a document yesterday. He said he has not encountered this message on his computer before. It was a fax document that is located over the network.  Hitting print could only produce an error saying "cannot access the file". We even tried saving it to his desktop. The file can be opened, but printing it produced the same problem.

I am not really into IT and my colleague started to dial the technical department for help. It was a long qeue and the automated voice was saying he is third in the line. And we were running out of idea.

I remembered a quick fix with websites that do not allow right clicks for copywrite protection. And the rule that anything you see in the computer screen can be copied in some way or the other. There's no need for a special software, but a built in one. In fact it is just sitting there in your keyboard waiting for the user to unleash it's hidden talent. And most user is not aware of it's existence. Paired with a native image program, they can be a powerful tool.

How Print Screen and Paint Program saved the day.


The Prt Scr (1) button is located at the right top upper keys on the keyboard. The location depends on the computer make. The paint menu(2) can be accessed by pressing start>all programs>accessories>paint.








With the necessary button and program, we can now proceed to print the "can't be located " file.

Open the file and hit Prt Scr button.
Open paint and press paste(3).
To trim the image, press select(4)>rectangular selection(5) then adjust the image using the guide lines(4a).
Hit crop(6) save it to an acessible location like the desktop and the printer did not have any problem accessing the file.





Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Clean Multiple Browsers Easily

Clean and lean browser is faster to load web pages. You might have noticed a decline of efficiency which ever browser you are using as time passes. This is due to the grime and unnecessary load caused by cookies, tracking cookies, add ons, temporary internet, cache, download histories and so on. Whilst it is easy to delete these, sometimes it is time consuming to go under the hood of every browser you use, specially when you use several programs.

The CCleaner


One way of clearing all these potential problems in all browsers you are using in one interface is to use CCleaner. You can download the program at this site:

http://www.filehippo.com/download_ccleaner


Just be careful not to click the adverts(2) which has nothing to do with Ccleaner. The real link (1)is the one at the right upper side with the latest version written at the link button.

How to use it


Once  installed, you can use straight away to clean your computer including your browsers. If you want to clean Internet Explorer, go to clean menu(3) and click Windows(4) tab, then tick(5) temporary files, cache, history and so on. Do not tick the Saved Passwords if you want to keep all passwords your browser saved from websites.

If you are using other browsers, go to applications(6) tab and do the same for each browsers(7). You do not need to analyze it first but you can click run cleaner(8) straight away.


The Start Up Button

The notion of a startup is when the computer is turned on from being off. The startup  submenu under tools is slightly different. Yes it shows you the startup programs that run alongside with the operating system during boot time and the interesting bit is, it also shows the add ons and other programs that run when you click your browser. The good thing about this is, you can turn off easily those programs  that run with your browser. This cuts time to from the moment you click until the program is operational. This means faster response from your browser because the unnecessary burden is disabled for a while.

To do this, click tools>startup>choose which browser(11)>click enable(12) tab to see which one is active>click the program (13)you want to stop loading when the program starts>then disable(14) it. Or you can choose to delete if you no longer intend to use it.




Saturday, 13 September 2014

A Fix to Speed Up Your Browser

Internet contents need browser programs to translate html codes into audio and visuals. The are many of them, some unknown and a few are well known like Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari.  They might be from different companies and have a trick of their own but all have the same primary function, to bring you the latest updates with your emails, social networks, and favourite websites.

But did you notice as you use your browser, specially when you are using Windows computers, that through time it becomes sluggish as well? It takes time to load the program or it takes time to load web pages? Sometimes multi media stutters and keeps on buffering? Any browser can suffer from these problems. Here are the reasons why they behave erratic and the way to reduce the occurence of such problems.

It takes time to load the browser.


The moment you click on the browser's shortcut, you need to wait longer than usual before the program is on in it's operative state. Usually, the cause of this are the add ons that you did not realised  installed by visiting websites. A video website might need a specific extension or plug in to play the content and automatically downloads a program to do just that. Not only that, toolbars, antivirus add ons, converter add ons and so on, will continue to accumulate with the application and this causes an extra muscle and time to become ready.

Solution

The sensible thing to do then is to disable or uninstall these add ons that causing this. As every browser has different interfaces, the way to get to the add ons differs as well.

If you are using chrome, goto menu(1a)>tools(2a)>Extensions(3a)>untick enabled(4a)>or you can uninstall it by clicking the bin(5a) icon.


In Firefox, go to Menu(1b)>Addons(2b)>then choose if you want to disable(3b) or remove (4b) completely.


In Opera click menu(1c)>extensions(2c)>disable(3c)


Do the following for internet explorer.

Click cogwheel(1d)>manage add-ons(2d)>Highlight the add on(3d)disable(4d). If you have multiple search providers, you can uninstall those you do not use by highlighting search provider(5d) and follow 3d and 4d.




It takes time to load web pages/multi media keeps on buffering.


Your browser saves contents from the websites you visit to make it load faster the next time you load the page again. Trouble like web page do not load properly when this cache becomes corrupted. This makes loading of pages seems forever or doesn't load at all.

Solution.


Clearing the cache usually resolves this trouble.

On Firefox browser, go to menu(1e)>History(2e)>click detail(3e) to make sure cache(4e) is ticked then clear now(5e).


Chrome: Menu(1f)>History(2f)>clear browsing(3f)>make sure cache(4f) is ticked>clear browsing data(5f)

Opera: Menu(1g)>History(2g)>Clear browsing history(3g)make sure cache(4g) is ticked>clear browsing history(5g)


Internet Explorer:Cogwheel(1h)>Internet Options(2h)>Delete(3h)make sure Temporary internet files and website files is ticked(4h)delete(5h)



Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The Largest iPhone Ever

The world is welcoming iPhone 6, the first leap of the cuppertino guys to brew a larger mobile which is a contrary to apple's single hand design . With a 5.5 inch screen size display, apple is showing it is ready to race head to head for the phablet arena which is at the moment dominated by android. It might have sensed that the trend is going towards a bigger and larger devices. Or have got the clue to  users, being more practical that they choose larger screens as they are more user friendly with a tasks, or simply more entertaining than smaller screens.

The variants


There are two models to choose from, one has a display of 4.7 inches and the other 5.5 inch model. The later is called iPhone 6 plus which the extra size might have contributed to the name. Both models could make the iPhone 5(4 inch screen) looked very small when compared side by side.



What to expect


Aside from the size, the new iPhones have 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB models. Having added the extra storage in terms of internal memory, apple still is not keen of installing slot for external storage. It also sports the new IOS 8 which apple claims as having more exiting features. It also claims  to have a faster dual core processor using the latest A8 64-bit specification with a clock speed of 1.4GHz, and a 1GB of RAM. This specs might look short compared to other mobiles but the real speed is affected by the efficiency of how the device handles its resources.

It might seem too late for apple to introduce NFC feature, but will be more functional than other phone's with the introduction of Apple Pay application.

The 8MP rear camera might sound disappointing to fans, but the incorporation of  the new iSight lense has a faster autofocus and a better noise reduction feature than promises better photos from it's predecessor. The front facing camera has a new sensor that collects more light specially in dim environment to give you a better focused and sharper image.

With it's bigger size, it is surprising that the new iPhone is thinner that the older versions. The 4.7 model is only at 6.9mm thickness, and the 5.5 is thin at 7.1mm compare to the 7.6mm iPhone5 model.

A bigger battery is also matched for longer usage.

Where to order?


Although it is not in the shelves yet you can pre order it from the retailers below:

Carphonewarehouse £43.50/month

Dialaphone (price match promise plus free first month tariff)

Phones4U(with price match promise plus free first moth tariff plus trade in)




Both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus comes in 16B, 64GB and 128GB models - See more at: http://hiphopwired.com/2014/09/09/11-new-features-iphone-6-photos/2/#sthash.tUswU08S.dpuf

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

The Unresponsive iPad Mirroring

We watch online content from the Philippines using a third generation iPad(the model we use, but you can use iPad 1 as well) streamed to a big television using apple TV's wireless mirroring.  It is more convenient using this way of connection rather than wired because you can use and control the iPad whilst sitting at the sofa. It serves as both the source of entertainment and remote control.

This morning, we run into a series of iPad problems that include, selective non-responsive screen and mirroring time out!

Selective non-responsive touchscreen.


This problem occurs when my wife is logging into her TFC account.  As she logs in her account across many flatforms, she is automatically logs out and needs to log in again when she switch between devices. Although all links of the website works, and the log in page shows, there seem to be a problem when trying to log in. The problem is the log in box is grayed and it is not rendered active when touched. The on screen keyboard also does not show up.

Is it because the orientation mode is locked? 


I suspected the orientation mode giving the problem because I usually solve this problem on an android phone by rotating the screen from landscape to portrait or vice versa.

But where's the orientation lock?


Swiping the iPad from the base upwards should show the rotation lock, but instead, the mute(1) button is taking it's place. If this happens, it is because the physical lock switch at the right upper side of the iPad is switched to control the orientation lock. So no matter how much you try to change it using the menu under general settings, it will not change the orientation.



So I did slide back the physical lock button at the right upper side of the iPad to change it's orientation from landscape to portrait mode. This seemed correct the problem. Either in the landscape mode, it worked alright after this, and even after we activated the orientation lock button.

Other possible solutions.


If this move have not corrected the problem, either I should have emptied the Safari cache or restarted the device.

Bring back rotation lock!


If you want the control center menu to show the orientation lock instead of the mute button, go to general>use side switch >and choose lock rotation(3).  The change will be immediate and will show the rotation lock(4).



Mirroring Stops


Whilst watching the mirrored show, the connection between the TV and iPad stops. The iPad says that the program is playing at apple TV but the TV doesn't output anything. Restarting the show by refreshing the page starts the mirroring again but stops more or less at the point where it stops the first time. 

There are many causes of this, like failed internet connection, failed Wi-Fi connection, and even failed device. At this occassion I can not fault internet connection as it is OK with the iPad to play contents. I can not blame Wi-Fi as well as the apple TV is connected over Wi-Fi and does not have any problem playing netflix programs. So I am down to a problem with the device.

I remember about a battery saving feature of devices that limits connectivity specially, Wi-Fi, bluetooth and data when they reach a set battery percentage. This means the device throttles the connectivity performance to stretch the battery life. This might be happening with the iPad as it is at 18% life. 

Making it connected to the mains whilst mirroring has corrected the error in this occasion. You can also force the device not to stop mirroring even whilst low in battery by adjusting the sleep button to never, general>Auto-Lock(5)>Never(6).


Saturday, 6 September 2014

Speed Up Android Phone

Like my windows computer, I found out that through time my android phone lags in performance from time to time. Although this play up is just seldom, it is annoying to be kept waiting for response specially when you are at an important activity. Most of the time I work around this by pressing the restart button only to find out, it added more idle time for the device to reboot! I should have spent a little time asking sensible questions why the phone is behaving that way.

And here are the answers why  my android phone (Note 3) slows down.

Background applications running


These background applications could be vital to the phone's performance. It could also be just an unnecessary weight that is wasting the processing power and dragging its performance into a snail paced.

Opened apps


The rule is, the more applications opened, the more the phone becomes sluggish. This is because the phone's processing power and memory are overwhelmed when applications are running at the same time. You can see these apps even if the active apps indicator is showing zero by pressing the home button until the list shows(1)

Solution is to end these by swiping the application to either to the left(2) or to the right.



Widgets


Widgets are great and useful but there is also a dark side about them. Especially those that get their contents from the internet. And not only that, they download and update themselves automatically as well. News and weather widgets are very popular and could be a very reason to slow down your phone as well as they .  are usually pre shipped with the factory settings of the phone.

The solution here is to avoid widgets that pull fresh   contents over the internet by removing it. To disable this, just stick your fingers on the middle of the  widget(3) until the bin(4) appears and just drag and drop it there.



Free Applications


Who needs a paid for applications when you have free alternatives? Or are these free apps actually free? This is not easy to answer.

In a developers point of view, an application even if it's free, can generate income by allowing advertisers to place their products with the application. The more users, the more advertisers and advertisement exposure. This means more money to be generated. As this adverstisements (5) are dynamic, they pull their contents as well over the internet.  Here is where the problem lies when they consume computing resources of the phone, not only for the application to run but for showing adverts (5) whilst it is running.

The solution here  is to try to limit the free apps in your phone. It is also a good practice to turn off the Wi-Fi or data tariff (6) if the application allows you whilst using the app.



Bloated launcher


The Samsung's built in launcher(touchwhiz, 8) has many enhancement rolled on its sleeves. Most users find this entertaining but in my point of view, this just slows down the phone's performance. If you are practical thinking and do not fancy much like animations and other tantalizing antics(7), then finding a slimmer launcher can boost performance. I have tried Zeam Launcher and I liked it.

You can download it from the Play store. Just search Zeam Launcher. You can change your default launch application to Zeam by going to Settings>General>Default Applications>Home>then choose Zeam(8). The result is a slimmer version of everything, comparing the previous launcher(7) with the Zeam interface (9) may not look impressive, but if you go through your applications using Zeam(9) I can testify that it is faster.

 You can always switch to the original one by following above path if this is too plain for you.






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