Posted on May 13th, 2013 by Bob and Joy Schwabach
We were surprised to see the photos we just took with our smartphone were immediately available on Google+, a social network much like Facebook.
Google’s new “Instant Upload” saves your photos and videos in a private space on Google+. Click the “share” button in Google+ to make them available to anyone, or limit viewing to your friends. If you don’t already have Google+, you can get it at Plus.Google.com.
Google+ lets you upload an unlimited number of photos in standard size (2048 pixels); at full resolution it limits you to five gigabytes of storage, which is free. Video storage is unlimited for videos of 15 minutes or less. The default for photos is full resolution, but you can change that in the settings area.
Being able to send a photo from your Google+ account can be useful in an emergency, such as a violent encounter. The bad guy may think he destroyed the evidence when he stole your phone, but it’s backed up online. (Take that, bad guy!) Or you may have accidentally deleted a photo of your future wife or husband. But it’s ready to download again any time.
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Posted on May 12th, 2013 by Bob and Joy Schwabach
“Tropical Heat” reminds us of the video arcade days, when you feel as though you’re literally riding a jet ski. Dive under water, launch from ramps, combine extreme tricks. This summer’s new version will add volcanoes, tunnels, cliffs, sand dunes and cyclones and let you be a sea turtle or sting ray if you prefer. It’s $10, or PC and Mac from TropicalHeatGame.com.
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Posted on May 12th, 2013 by Bob and Joy Schwabach
“PicStitch” for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch is a free and easy way to make photo collages and post them on Facebook or email them to friends. We didn’t mind the ads.
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Posted on May 11th, 2013 by Bob and Joy Schwabach
“Burner” for Android phones gives you a free disposable phone number. When someone calls, it connects to your regular number. Dispose of it when you wish. Free for a number that expires the next day. Two dollars for a three-pack or to extend a selected number.
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Posted on May 10th, 2013 by Bob and Joy Schwabach
Punch.in, for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad from Punch Technologies, is the old time clock for punching in and out of work activities. It also lets you see what your co-workers are doing, and collaborate with them through text, image and voice notes.
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Posted on May 9th, 2013 by Bob and Joy Schwabach
If every photo in your pile needs to be rotated, brightened, or re-sized, it’s a pain to do them one by one. It’s much easier to use what’s called a “batch converter.” We have two recommendations, one free, one $25.
The freebie is IrfanView. It handles just about any file you throw at it, including the so-called camera RAW images. It also converts sound, movies and other files into something you can actually play. The catch is Irfanview can be as tricky as its odd name. We had to read their “Frequently Asked Questions” to figure out how to do a whole batch of pictures at once.
An alternative if you don’t mind paying $25, is ReaConverter. It’s fast and – what is always a biggie with us – easy. First make a list of images and then choose what you want to have done to them: rotate, resize, sharpen, add some special effect, etc. There’s a huge list of options. We tried resize, which does not change the size of the pictures but simply reduces the number of pixels and makes them faster to send and less room to store. In our list of five photos it reduced file size by 50 percent; they still looked the same to us. When we tried doing this in IrfanView, however, our slideshow was fuzzy. There’s a free trial of ReaConverter at ReaConverter.com.
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Posted on May 8th, 2013 by Bob and Joy Schwabach
MadamEulalie.org has the pre-1923 stories of humorist P.G. Wodehouse. They’ve just added some golf stories. You might know the two chief Wodehouse characters: Jeeves, the perfect butler and Wooster, an amiable upper-class goofball. The stories are free to read and download.
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Posted on May 7th, 2013 by Bob and Joy Schwabach
A new product still a bit down the road is a cell phone case that charges your phone by shaking or just walking around. This will be one of those cases where every little movement has a meaning all its own.
The working title is “Infinity Cell” and of course the method of operation is being kept secret. But just so you can seem in the know at parties and lunches, there are a few ways you can do this:
The most direct one is through magnetic induction. Any moving conductor (wire, for example) that passed through a magnetic field generates an electric current. The reverse is also true. So, a tiny magnet moving back and forth through a coil of wire as you walk, will generate a small amount of electricity which can be used to eventually recharge your battery. Another way is with a weight and a ratchet, probably not practical in this situation. The proposed Infinity Cell is projected to give you a 20 percent charge from 30 minutes of shaking or a full charge after three-hours. If that sounds like a whole lot of shaking going on, it is. But over the course of the day you should be able to get a usable charge for your phone just by walking around. Depends on your action, of course.
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Posted on May 6th, 2013 by Bob and Joy Schwabach
We heard from a reader who was really annoyed with himself for spending $40 to get Windows 8 instead of just buying lottery tickets. In frustration, he said, he “almost trashed a very capable Dell laptop.” Then he found a fix. It’s called “Classic Shell” and it’s free.
ClassicShell.net is one of a handful of Windows 8 fixes and it seems to work well. We tried two other freebies but they made our machines unstable after a while. Classic Shell gives you three choices: the classic Windows start menu, Windows XP style or Windows 7, whatever you’re used to. We added it to our Windows 8 machine, but some people use it to make Windows 7 look more like Windows XP.
Now when we click “start,” we get a familiar programs list plus a list of our “apps:” weather, news, games, etc. You don’t get that in a regular Windows screen!
Now we again see our familiar links to “Control Panel,” “help and Support,” “shut down,” and so on. That’s pretty neat, but now the Windows 8 “Tile World,” (also known as the Start screen), is no longer the first thing we see after boot-up. However we can still get to it.
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Posted on May 4th, 2013 by Bob and Joy Schwabach
Seventy percent of small businesses that have a major data loss go out of business within a year, according to a report by the accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
There are hundreds of ways to back up your data, and for individuals it’s as easy as using Google Drive on a PC or iCloud on the Mac. For businesses, we’ve recommended Acronis, which can restore an image from one computer onto one with dissimilar hardware. Another company that has this kind of thing is Paragon. Its “Hard Disk Manager 12” gets good reviews and is free to try.
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