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!

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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.







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