Posted on February 26th, 2014 by Bob and Joy Schwabach
Why does the battery on your smart phone drain so fast? They’re all against you, that’s why. Here’s a list of the bad guys now:
According to KS Mobile, an app maker, the number one battery drainer is the “Camera 360 Ultimate” app. Public battery enemies two through ten are: Outlook.com, EZ Weather Forecast, Viki, Zello Walkie-Talkie, Temple Run 2, IMO Free Video Calls and Text, Racing Moto, Fruit Ninja and Candy Crush Saga.
KS makes a free battery-saving Android app called Clean Master, which we use to get rid of junk files, but our favorite battery-saving app is still Battery Doctor, also free, for iPhone and Android. For iPhone users who want something similar to Clean Master for getting rid of unwanted applications, there’s Snap Pea.
Filed under: apps, batteries | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 25th, 2014 by Bob and Joy Schwabach
This happens a lot: Somebody will tell us about a great site, article or video they saw on the web, but don’t remember exactly where it was. Google it, they’ll say. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t.
If you use the Firefox web browser, there’s an easy way to share what you saw. Click “File” from the top of the screen and then “Email link.” In Safari, click “File,” “share” and “email this page.” In Internet Explorer (for Windows 7 and XP), click “Page” and then “send page by email.” In IE for Windows 8, use the “share” charm, if you can get it to work, which we can’t.
But what about the totally popular Chrome browser? You have to install the free add-on, Shareaholic, from Shareaholic.com. It requires you to sign up for an account, but that’s easy. There’s a version for all the browsers. If you’re on Youtube, click the “share” button under the video, then choose “email.” Finally, the way we usually share things found on the web is copy the web address and paste it into an email. It’s easy; it’s just an extra step. God, we get so lazy sometimes.
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Posted on February 24th, 2014 by Bob and Joy Schwabach
Our favorite online music service, Spotify, has over 20 million songs that have been listened to at least once. But they have four million songs have never been called up by any Spotify user.
“Forgotify” comes to the rescue of those lonely songs. Using it, you can cycle through the lost tunes (Remember: there are only four million. If you listen to 50 an hour, you can get through them in just 80,000 hours – or around 30 years, assuming you sometimes eat, sleep and take a shower.)
Doing our bit for musicology, we found a nice Indian hit, a soothing instrumental number, and many, many duds. Now we’re sorry about this, and have to issue a warning to anyone else crazy enough to go through this routine: Any time you listen to a never before listened-to tune, it comes off the “Forgotify” list. After all, you listened to it. You have then deprived other searchers of the chance to discover it. Let your conscience be your guide.
You have to sign in to Spotify to use Forgotify, but it’s free if you don’t mind the ads. It’s $10 a month ad-free.
By the way, you can find the lyrics for many songs using “musiXmatch” for Android or iPhone. On the web you can search for the lyrics for just about any song and usually see many sources. There are lots of sites that have libraries of song lyrics. Of course you won’t find lyrics for the never-listened to songs, because … Well, you understand.
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Posted on February 23rd, 2014 by Bob and Joy Schwabach
“DropTask” takes a different approach to the traditional to-do list. Instead of lists with deadlines, you see colorful circles with tasks inside. This is a lot easier on the eye and less stressful than traditional lists.
The big circles are reserved for categories you create, such as “Household Tasks.” Each big circle can have little circles, representing different tasks. You can invite people to work on the tasks with you, add a due date, and attach documents from the Internet or your computer. The colors are pleasing and you can alter them to suit you.
It’s free for computers at DropTask.com, or $5 for iPads and $3 for iPhones.
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Posted on February 22nd, 2014 by Bob and Joy Schwabach
We have a Google TV box for watching Amazon Video, YouTube, Netflix, and video from any website. But frankly it uses a slow and clunky search screen that forces you to move the cursor around the alphabet to spell even short titles. The new ASUS “Chromebox,” coming up in March will list for $179 and works with just about any keyboard, monitor, or TV, wirelessly.
The Chromebox and the Chromebook are usually seen as alternatives to PCs and Macs. They have screens and keyboards but everything happens on the Internet: you can do your email, search, play games, write and do calculations, and the system is “cleaned” every time you start up. That is, in short, any accumulated junk or malware is removed when you first log on to the web.
But the new Chromebox will probably be attached to your TV instead of a monitor in your office. It’s about half the size of the average set-top box (less than five inches by five by two inches) and has 16 gigabytes of solid state storage. That doesn’t sound like much these days but it’s enough to stream videos from the web without jerky pauses, and they also give you 100 gigabytes of online storage, free for two years.
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Posted on February 21st, 2014 by Bob and Joy Schwabach
– Tiny robots the size of a human cell can carry drugs to the brain and eye. Beats surgery. Chinese researchers have developed micro robots for curing strokes and eye diseases without an operation. A thin layer of nickel on the robots allows them to be controlled magnetically. (There’s more info about this on the web. Search on the phrase “Chinese scientists build tiny robot to battle human diseases.”)
– Evena’s “Eyes-On Glasses” allow nurses and doctors to see a patient’s veins through the skin.
–The “BioPen” is a handheld 3D printer that prints bone to repair fractures. It was developed in Australia.
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Posted on February 20th, 2014 by Bob and Joy Schwabach
If you’ve ever been in an Apple store, you’ve noticed that you don’t have to go to the cash register to pay. There is no cash register and no checkout line; every clerk can take your credit card on their phone, using a small add-on device.
Small business can do the same thing, with an add-on from “Square” or “Paypal.” Soon there will be a third choice, still in the “beta” or testing phase. “ShopKeep Mobile” is a handheld point of sale device using hardware from Griffin, a company we’ve followed for years. It’s connected to that mysterious computer in the cloud, so everything is automatically uploaded to your private account on the Internet.
ShopKeep currently works with the iPad and will soon be available for the iPhone and iPod Touch. It has an encrypted credit card swipe slot and barcode scanner. It provides analytical services as well. It provides sales reports, inventory management and QuickBooks integration via a “BackOffice” service. You can email customers a receipt, keep them in your database, search for items, give discounts, add tax or not add it, print receipts and use it offline. Bob thinks this will become a biggie. More info at shopkeep.com/mobile-pos.
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Posted on February 19th, 2014 by Bob and Joy Schwabach
Next week marks the beginning of “creativeLivePhotoshop Week,” a week of free online Photoshop classes. Take over 40 free classes online from award-winning photographers and artists on everything from simple shortcuts to advanced editing techniques. Click here to RSVP. You can download a free trial of Photoshop here.
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Posted on February 18th, 2014 by Bob and Joy Schwabach
Our Amazon Prime membership costs us $79 a year and the price will be going up soon. This gives us free shipping and two-day delivery on almost anything we buy there. We can also get hundreds of free movies (but not the newest ones) streamed to our computers, phones or TVs.
It’s an attractive benefit and worth the price. It’s so attractive in fact, it looks like it’s going to be a retail trend: NewEgg, a huge mail-order house for computers and other electronic equipment, has started offering three-day free delivery for $49 a year. We think of them as tech only, because that’s all they used to sell, but now you can buy lots of stuff, including “accessories” for the kitchen sink — if not the sink itself. They have become the second largest online retailer after Amazon. (Amazon does sell kitchen sinks.)
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Posted on February 17th, 2014 by Bob and Joy Schwabach
“iHeart Radio” and so do we. There’s lots of good stuff on radio and unlike TV, you don’t have to be in front of a screen to get it. You can download it as a free app or use it directly from the website iHeartRadio. com.
There are other web sites and apps for listening to the radio but what appealed to us about this one is the range: iHeart Radio has 24/7 “comedy radio,” and individual comedian stations, like Jimmy Kimmel and Conan O’Brien. It brings in public radio stations from all over the country, as well as many college stations. A “scan” button lets you roam from state to state for the top stations. (A guy Bob knows in Arizona once described the local stations by saying “Do you like Willie Nelson?”)
If the app doesn’t play on your older Android or Apple device you can just go to the web site.
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