Feb
27
2015

iPhone's Real Storage Space

 

 

 

Apple is an amazing company. Indeed, its popularity is evident with the ubiquitousness of iPhones. Not surprisingly, Apple has sold almost 75 million iPhones in the latest quarter of 2014, according to Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. Apple is also becoming increasingly popular in some of the BRIC countries, namely Brazil and China. However, iPad sales have decreased. Currently, everybody is waiting for the release of the smart watch, expected in April 2015. Apparently, the watch will have the feature of giving users their heart rate and calorie count, and is also the first new product the company has made in the last couple of years.

But what drives Apple’s and iPhone’s success? Some argue that a very important question is the free storage space available on the mobile device. Of course, when you buy your shiny new iPhone (or other smartphone), the choice includes 16 gigabytes, 32 gigabytes and so on. But does that mean that you actually get that amount of free storage space? You might think that the numbers represent your total free storage space, but system settings take up space. For example, the new iOS 8 update may take up almost a quarter of the free storage space advertised by Apple when you buy your iPhone.

Along these lines, upgrading from iOS 7 to iOS 8 could make you forego some additional 1.3GB of space. Interestingly enough, when Apple claims that an iPhone 5c comes with 16GB of free storage space, the actual figure is closer to 12.60GB, which is still much better than its competitors, so perhaps the storage space on the iPhone actually is yet another factor for Apple’s undeniable success with the iPhone. Of course Apple beats its competition, but it nonetheless never includes the storage space taken up by the operating system in its sales pitch. So much so, that Apple is currently facing a lawsuit over its iPhone 6. Still, no matter how you look at it, a smartphone has to sacrifice some of its storage space to basics, such as the operating system, so perhaps the lawsuit is motivated more by Apple’s fortune than by the real problem of free storage space.

 

 

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Feb
26
2015
Mobile Security
Posted by Lana

Mobile Security

 

 

 

Surfing the Internet, while certainly an enjoyable and pleasant activity, comes with its set of pitfalls and challenges. For example, recently malware has seen a rise internationally. Malware is short for malicious software and is typically used to gain access to private information on a computer or otherwise misuse said computer. Further, some malware may even be used to extort payment, such as CryptoLocker. Along these lines, malware may include most types of harmful software such as computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, shareware and other malicious software. Indeed, cybercrime is tougher to manage because of the overlapping or nonexistent borders in cyberspace. For instance, the mobile security company Lookout suggests that shareware and ransomware are gaining ground worldwide. The mobile security firm has analyzed some 60 million users and found that different threats to mobile safety correspond to distinct geographical locations.

Further, some of the malware Lookout has come across includes: ScarePackage, Death Ring, CoinKrypt and ShrewdCKSpy. ScarePackage is ransomware disguised as an update to the Adobe Flash plugin or as an anti-virus program. Once it is downloaded it displays a fictitious FBI message. Alternatively, DeathRing is a Trojan. DeathRing poses as a ringtone app and attempts to capture login credentials by masquerading as trusted entities, such as renown financial institutions. Furthermore, CoinKrypt, likewise a Trojan, infects mobile devices and harvests their processing power to mine cryptocurrency. ShrewdCKSpy intercepts and records text messages and phone calls and uploads them to a remote server. The worst ransomware in 2014, at least in the United States, were ScarePackage, ScareMeNot, ColdBrother and Koler. Ransomware also represents the number one threat in Western Europe, and gain access to mobile devices through malicious apps. Ransomware is defined as malicious software which locks users out of their computers or mobile devices and demands payment in order to restore access to the device. Alternatively, charge-ware is designed to have the user agree to unclear terms and continue to pay fees and charges despite making efforts to unsubscribe.

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Feb
25
2015
Mobile Payments
Posted by Lana

Mobile Payments

 

 

 

One of the advantages conferred by today’s Internet economy, and the proliferation of e-business, is mobile payments. Indeed, with the advent of companies like eBay and the availability of online shopping carts with what looks like a majority of stores, making online payments has become very widespread. Similarly, online banking has also gained in popularity. Mobile payments, while perhaps not yet the norm, have become popular in many countries, such as Kenya and Australia. But, naturally, Web-based financial transactions are not exempt from pitfalls, and accompanying fees. Payments processors such as Visa, may charge customers and merchants alike for every online financial transaction, while some forms of mobile payments avoid credit cards and banks altogether.

Mobile payments are also called mobile money transfer, and the generally accepted principle is that they are done from a mobile device, such as a mobile phone. Thus, such mobile wallets allow a consumer to pay using their mobile phone instead of a cheque or credit card. However, the technology behind such payments seems to be lagging behind. Such payments also have to do with micropayment, which are the realm of micro finance. Microfinance, in turn, is a concept which relates to developing economies. For instance, very small or micro, loans allow budding entrepreneurs in the developing world to start their own businesses.

Mobile payments solutions have several models of operation, including premium SMS based transactional payments, direct mobile billing, mobile Web payments and contactless NFC (Near Field Communication). In SMS based transactional payments, the consumer sends a text message and their mobile wallet is billed, either by applying the charge to the mobile wallet itself or by charging their phone bill. Then, the business is informed that the payment was successful and the goods or services requested are released. In direct mobile billing, the consumer’s account is billed using an two-factor authentication process involving a one-time-password and a PIN. The system does not require registration with a credit card or PayPal. In mobile Web payments, also known as WAP, the consumer uses applications downloaded and installed onto the phone or existing Web pages. Finally, contactless NFC involve mobile phones specifically equipped with smart cards which can be read by a corresponding module at a physical store. NFC is also common in the transportation business.

 

 

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Feb
24
2015

 

Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana

Automation and speech recognition are doubtless part of the widespread popularity of the iPhone. Alternatively, Android is not exactly Windows, but Microsoft’s Cortana could appear on the alternative mobile phone platform. Further, Google Now is also an alternative to staying in the know in real time. Thus, automation is largely defined as the use of robotics or automated equipment during manufacturing processes. Indeed, robots replacing humans as the primary labour force has been discussed at length in science fiction novels. But how close are we to Artificial Intelligence (AI) in real life? To date there are no known cyborgs in the real world, but humanoid robots have been developed in South Korea and Japan. Further, cybernetics are a dynamic science, which already allows such feats as speech recognition.

Therefore, from “The Terminator” to “The War Games”, dangerous and ill intentioned computers rise against humans. Indeed, many people are preoccupied by the rise of the machine, some stating that within the next decade we will see a machine more intelligent than mankind, capable of ruse and world domination. Regardless, while perhaps far from being able to take over the world, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana are intelligent systems capable of speech recognition. Apple’s Siri needs no introduction, as it has been widely popularized not only by the undeniable success of the several versions of the iPhone since its inception, but also in the popular media. For example, in the TV series The Big Bang Theory, one of the characters literally falls in love with Siri, in accordance with the show’s humorous take on people’s close relation to technology.

Further, Apple fans and iPhone users know the facility of interacting with Siri. All you have to do is dictate a command into your mobile device and Siri will reply with the nearest coffee shop, subway station or local hairdresser. However, the speech recognition pattern is not always perfect, which is why it is recommended to accustom your speech recognition device to the way you talk before practice makes perfect. Nonetheless, the environment has a lot to do with how well Siri recognizes accurately what you said, if you are speaking in a quiet place success is likely to be far greater than in a crowded room. Still, speech recognition provided by such digital assistants as Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana make life easier for a lot of us. Also, apparently the next step in this type of technology is visual speech recognition or lip-reading by computers. For the time being, scientists continue to work on progress in this area.

 

 

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Feb
23
2015
Privacy Tools
Posted by Lana

Privacy Tools

 

 

 

Privacy is important, there is a reason why people change their privacy settings on their Facebook accounts and put blinds on their windows. However, browsing the Internet and having an online presence comes with its own set of risks, as does having mobile phones, tablets and computers. Luckily, a number of software tools exists in order to protect your privacy online, some of them even free and open source. As a general rule, free and open source software means that the code can be studied by anyone. Open source software has a major advantage in that its code is public. Because of that, the code can be easily verified by anyone and means less opportunity for monitoring in hidden backdoors, as compared to its closed code counterpart.

Further, Tor is one of the most popular ways to browse the Web anonymously. Using multiple relays, the system makes it virtually impossible to track down your online activity, including to .onion domains, which are only accessible while using Tor, also known as the onion router. Tails OS, a Linux-based operating system similarly runs without leaving any trackable trace. Alternatively, Windows BitLocker and its Apple counterpart FileVault, encrypt your hard disk, which cannot be decrypted even by Apple, once again protecting your privacy. Emails can also be encrypted using the Gnu Privacy Guard, initially released as the PGP (Pretty Good Privacy). The system works with your existing emails. Moreover, even voice calls can be encrypted using a privacy tool called Silent Phone, published by Silent Circle.

Furthermore, LastPass is a password manager which saves you from the necessity of remembering the multitude of passwords required by today’s constant online account registration environment. You no longer need to remember or store your passwords, because this password manager does the job for you by safeguarding your log in information in a safe, secure and encrypted space. So together, these privacy protection ways and tools ensure that your online activity remains untracked. From encryption to anonymous browsing, there are many ways to protect your privacy from unwanted surveillance and monitoring. Also, many of the privacy tools outlined above are free.

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Feb
22
2015

Best Security Apps for Android

 

 

 

In the current Internet environment, it is not always safe to browse the Internet. Especially, if one likes to download content, such as downloading and installing apps, games, music and so on. Along with the wanted app, one may inadvertently download malware. Indeed, getting a virus is made much easier by downloading and installing something onto your phone, tablet or computer.

Naturally, If someone hacks into your account, it may ruin your day to say the least. Android phones and tablets are not risk free, but luckily there are security apps that can help you keep the hackers and fraudsters at bay. Thus, AV-TEST has found the best Android security apps available on the market.

Therefore, the AVAST Mobile security and antivirus allows you to sleep peacefully while it scans your content and your phone automatically. The security app also provides a firewall for rooted phones. Additionally, the app may help you with your privacy. Many have received a call at 2am from some rude acquaintance only to wish that they could block that intrusive’s caller number. Indeed, you can. The app features an SMS and call filter to block and screen unwanted contact.

Further, the Norton Mobile Security is yet another option to protect your mobile phone or tablet. Additionally, Norton Antivirus can lock your phone if it was lost or stolen, and preempt apps from sharing your personal information without you knowing. Naturally, you can scan and remove malware, viruses and malicious apps.

Furthermore, Kaspersky Internet security technologies are a great Android antivirus, providing antitheft protection and protection from spyware, malware, Trojans and other unpleasant, uninvited, intrusive guests. What is more, the mobile security app even includes features such as wipe, full wipe and Mugshot; again, in case the device gets lost or stolen.

Another app which may help to protect your devices is the Trend Micro Mobile Security, Antivirus and Performance Booster. According to AV-TEST, previously mentioned, the app provides 100% detection. The app includes a program eliminating all unnecessary processes on your phone when the battery is running low, and a free History Cleaner. Finally, Qihoo 360 Security is a totally free security app. Surely, with so much choice in mobile and tablet security, it can now once again feel safe to browse the Internet.

 

 

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Feb
21
2015
Tips for Chromebook
Posted by Lana

Tips for Chromebooks

 

 

 

Here are some of the tips and tools to make Chrome OS work for work:

 It will come as no surprise that the Chromebook is perfectly tailored for working on documents. Google’s productivity apps accessed from Google Drive, such as word processor, presentations, spreadsheet, and more, work well on the Chromebook. They also work offline, allowing documents to be created and used without an Internet connection. Google’s cloud file storage caches recently used and user-specified files offline.

Chrome Remote Desktop: With Chrome Remote Desktop you can work with Chromebook as your primary laptop screen-share any of your other computers wherever they are, even behind firewalls or on home broadband.

Evernote:  Evernote conveniently indexes notes and even images, making them searchable in a well-ordered fashion. A paid account will give you effectively unlimited storage, plus indexing of the text in images and PDFs.

Secure shell (SSH) is the terminal of choice for server administrators everywhere. Handily, it’s built into the Chromebook. To access it press Ctrl-Alt-T.

Feedly: Feedly is essential for anyone looking to keep up to date with their favorite websites. You can use it to track your twits, for example, as well as clip text to Evernote, and so on.

Spotify: Spotify client has been tailored specifically for the Chromebook. It allows you to listen to any of the extensive music catalog.

Chromebook Pixel is an app that scans your cameras, SD cards, and other storage plugged into the computer. It uploads photos to Google+, and provides many of the simple editing and cataloging functions of apps like iPhoto and ThumbsPlus.

ÜberConference arranges and manages telephone conference calls. You can even dial in to them using nothing more than a Chromebook and a headset.

TweetDeck provides a really good Twitter experience with Chromebook. This HTML5 Web app allows you to monitor multiple accounts, searches, messages, and more. It offers timed posting so that you can schedule tweet updates from your various accounts in advance.

Kindle: The Kindle Cloud Reader app for the Chromebook includes the ability to store and read books offline.

Finally, don’t forget to take advantage of external monitors attached to a Chromebox, Apple Cinema display and other devices, as well as of a variety of keyboards, mice, and trackpads.

 

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Feb
20
2015

 

 

 

Six Ways to Lose an iPhone

 

I must confess that even though I have had over six iPhones in my life, the iPhone is still my favorite cell phone by far. First of all, because of the way it looks. The sleek case, the design, the touchscreen, there is a reason almost everybody now has an iPhone. Even animation software, when they want to show a cell phone prop use something looking like an iPhone, not to mention all the times the name of the brand comes up in music lyrics. But I digress…

The first iPhone I ever had I made the mistake of not purchasing a warranty. Worse yet, I made the even greater mistake of assuming that spilling my drink on it would break it. Now, I am by no means saying that iPhones are waterproof or even water-resistant (unless you actually get one that is!), but what happened was that I spilled my cranberry juice on it, and then my friend kindly offered to throw it away for me. A bit too naively, I agreed only to see her months later with the same iPhone in a different case. She came up with some story on how her parents got her a new phone so they could stay in touch while she went to live away for college. But that was back in the days of the iPhone 3, which was a success to say the least.

I have since had another iPhone 3G, the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 5 and iPhone 6, and lost them all. I am currently the proud owner of an iPhone 5c, one I intend to keep. Not that I didn’t intend to keep the predecessors, it just happened, as they say. So what happened to the other phones? One was lost to deep water, again not on a warranty for the simple reason that a warranty is still an additional cost you have to pay for every month. Another was stolen right in the middle of the dance floor, I even had people tell me “I saw the guy who snatched it out of your purse, he went that way”. But to no avail, the almost brand new iPhone was lost forever. But to make a long story short, no matter how many ways there are to lose an iPhone, it remains an excellent phone to both buy and sell, a quality device I keep coming back to over and over again.

 

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Feb
19
2015

 

Gmail interesting features

 

 

 

Google gmail has many interesting features people usually don’t use, as well as advanced setting people usually don’t use. So you can try them in order to improve the performance of your Gmail:

1.Customizable e-mail address – periods: Did you know that your Gmail account actually comes with numerous email addresses? Indeed, you can add a period anywhere within your username to make a unique address — changing bigfish@gmail.com to big.fish@gmail.com or b.i.g.f.i.sh@gmail.com. All messages sent to anyone of these addresses will end up in your Inbox.

2.Customizable e-mail addresses, + sign:  You can add a plus sign after your user name.  You can then put anything you want after the plus sign. For example, your bigfish@gmail.com address doesn’t change if it acquires this form: bigfish+igotoffer@gmail.com, or bigfish+mac@gmail.com, and so on.

3.Googlemail.com:  You can swap gmail.com out for googlemail.com (bigfish@gmail.com and bigfish@googlemail.com are the same address as the domains gmail and googlemail are interchangeable for all accounts.

4.Gmail labels: Labels can help you stay organized and save time and you can apply as many labels as you want to a single email. Briefly, one email could have the label Bills, as well as the label Accounting. You can customize your labels and select which of them is displayed in the main sidebar, which shows up within the in-message, etc.

5.Gmail filters: Within Gmail’s settings, you can set up advanced rules for processing incoming messages.  For example, you could tell the system to automatically apply specific labels based on a message’s subject line or sender. Gmail can also automatically archive certain messages so that you’ll never see them, but you’ll be able to find them if you need it. The customizable addresses (using periods or plus sign) can come in very handy here, as you might give out a unique address to a specific person.

6.Google Tasks:  You can open up the Gmail Tasks interface from your main inbox view. Just press G, then K. You can click the word Gmail at the top left of the screen to access a drop-down menu with the same option. By pressing Shift-T or by selecting Add to Tasks in the More menu, you can add tasks directly to your list from emails, while viewing a message.

7.Priority Inbox: A Gmail feature called Priority Inbox uses a variety of variables to determine what incoming messages are important to you; it then separates them out from the less pressing stuff. It learns over time, too, responding to your habits and taking the hint when you manually adjust something it has sorted.

8.Enable Keyboard Shortcuts: Gmail has a host of keyboard shortcuts that let you quickly navigate through your messages. You can press R to reply to a message, or C to compose a new message. To enable keyboard shortcuts,ust activate the option in your Gmail settings. You can even change the shortcuts by using custom keyboard shortcuts option in the Gmail Labs settings.

9.Canned Responses: Canned Responses feature allows you to create templates, and then insert them into new messages with a couple of clicks. Just go into the Gmail Labs settings and enable the Canned Responses option. When you compose a message, click the arrow at the bottom of the window, and select Canned Responses.

10.Gmail’s Preview Pane: This feature is enables within the Gmail Labs settings. It splits your inbox in half. It leaves the message list on the left and puts a viewing window on the right. An icon at the top of the screen lets you toggle the viewing window on or off; it also provides an option to switch to a horizontal setup, if you’d prefer.

11.Embedded content: You view links and attachments right within your inbox and without ever leaving the message in which they are mentioned. Go to Gmail Labs settings and look for all the features with “In Mail” in their titles. You’ll find options to activate in-message viewing of documents, spreadsheets, presentations, maps, Google Voice voicemails, and photos from Flickr and Picasa.

Mute: This feature kills mass-recipient threads. The next time you get a message with multiple recipients, click the More button at the top of the screen and select Mute. Gmail keeps the message archived and out of your inbox, even as new responses trickle in, unless something changes in the thread and a message arrives addressed only to you.

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Feb
18
2015

 

12 other tools for Google Drive

 

With the right combination of tools, settings, and know-how, you can turn Drive into machine packed with time-saving functionality. Here are 12 new ways to use Google Drive at its maximum:

1. Customize Drive’s appearance: You can make Drive look better for you. On the main Drive screen, click the button at the top-right with four small boxes to switch from the default list view to a grid arrangement. Click the button next to it to switch back. To the left of those buttons, you’ll see a command for changing the way your files are sorted. By clicking the gear icon to the right, you’ll find options for changing the density of the display.

2. Converting files: Drive can scan and detect text in PDFs and images. You’ll find the option by clicking the gear icon at the top-right of the main Drive screen and looking under Upload settings.

3. Translation: Google Docs can translate your documents. Click on the Tools menu at the top of the screen and select “Translate document.” You’ll be able to select from a large list of available languages.

4. Google Docs Research: Just click the Tools menu and select Research (or hit Ctrl-Alt-Shift-I). Google Docs will pop a sidebar onto your screen that’s prefilled with info about topics mentioned in your document. You can click on any of them to get more details or search for any additional terms.

5. Fax machine: With a plug-in called HelloFax, you let Drive serve as your own personal fax machine. Right-click any document from your Drive list to find the option to fax it.

6. Signing documents: Drive-connected app called HelloSign allows you to drag and drop your saved signature wherever you want in the document and save it or even email it.

7. Create documents quickly: Snag the free Google Docs Quick Create extension for Chrome; it’ll add a button into the toolbar for starting new spreadsheets, documents, and presentations.

8. Simplify saving: A free Chrome extension called Save to Google Drive adds right-click Save to Drive commands directly into your browser to allow you to grab images, documents, and even audio and video files from the Web and save them straight into Google Drive.

9. Creating a form: Drive can create public forms for collecting and organizing data: Click on the Tools menu within a Google Docs spreadsheet and select “Create a form,” then follow the prompts to get started.

10. Coding machine: A free Chrome app called Drive Notepad lets you view and edit plain-text documents in your browser and save them to your Drive account. It offers syntax highlighting for a variety of scripting and programming languages.

11. Gantter : This free Chrome app puts enterprise-level project scheduling right into your Drive account. Gantter supports Microsoft Project files while allowing for Docs-wide multiuser editing.

12. Cross-platform cloud hub: A free Chrome app Wappwolf Automator connects your Drive account to other online services and set up cross-platform syncing. It allows you to create special syncing folders within Drive; any files you move into those folders are then automatically sent to the external service of your choice.

 

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