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Is Apple’s MobileMe Worth the Money?

Is Apple’s MobileMe Worth the Money?


Apple introduced its MobileMe program to try to capitalize on the success of its iPhone, and within a few months, MobileMe ads began popping up on iTunes for pretty much all iPhone users. This begs the question–what the heck does MobileMe do, and is it really worth a hundred bucks per year?

Here’s a look at the features of Apple’s MobileMe service, and whether it’s really worth the extra cash.

What Is MobileMe? The MobileMe service was designed as an answer to Microsoft’s Exchange service, and through the use of a push function it synchronizes data across multiple computers and devices, including the iPhone. This means that if you update your calendar on your computer, your iPhone instantly and wirelessly updates that data, and vice versa. Email works similarly, and the service also offers proprietary email and file storage abilities.

Storage – Individual users can store up to 20GB of data on the MobileMe service, which allows it to serve as a decent data backup service, but because MobileMe uses http:// instead of https://, there’s a question as to how secure the online storage is. It’s more valuable as a file sharing tool, to send, for instance, videos and pictures to family members–though there are a ton of services online that offer the same features for free.

iPhone Compatibility – MobileMe’s compatibility with the iPhone is one of the best justifications of its cost–since the program was largely designed with the iPhone in mind, this makes sense. As your calendars and other data sync up directly to your iPhone wirelessly, it’s a great organizational tool, and if you ever lose your iPhone (or for that matter, if it’s stolen) you can remotely wipe the iPhone out and use the built in GPS to track its location. This last feature alone justifies the hundred dollar cost to many people, especially if you keep critical or sensitive information on your iPhone and you live in a large city where theft is more probable.

Ultimately, MobileMe is probably not worth $100 unless you’ve got an iPhone, and even then, its worth is largely dependent on how often and thoroughly you use your address book and calendar, and how many devices you use to update your address book and calendar. Save your money unless you’re a dedicated Apple fan that has a seriously difficult time keeping everything in order across your computers and iPhone, or you worry about your personal data should your iPhone get stolen. For others, the MobileMe service, while convenient, simply isn’t there yet.

Do you use Apple’s MobileMe? Post in our comments section below.…

How to Get All the Promos from Steam’s Linux Sale — On a PC or Mac

How to Get All the Promos from Steam’s Linux Sale — On a PC or Mac


My brother once dismissed the whole Linux gaming scene as “minigames about Tux the Penguin.” At the time, he wasn’t far off.

But now Steam has officially arrived on Linux, or at least the Ubuntu-flavored version of it. It’s out of beta, and is available through the Ubuntu Software Center, its equivalent of the App Store. There are more than 50 titles available for it right now, many of them PC or indie smash hits, like CounterStrike: Source and Team Fortress 2.

That’s all well and good, you say. But how can you get in on it if you’re on a Windows PC or a Mac?

Option 1: Buy the games for Windows or Mac

Don’t tell anyone, but you know how it says “Save on all Linux games” on Steam’s page? That doesn’t mean you can only buy the Linux version. It means if you buy those games from Steam, you can use them on any platform Steam runs on.

So if you haven’t picked up, say, the original Half-Life yet, now’s a perfect chance to do so at only $2.49. Same with indie smash hits Bastion, Eversion, and Amnesia: The Dark Descent, or at least they’re priced in that same ballpark.

All of the games in Steam’s “Linux games” sale are also available on Windows PCs. Nearly all work on the Mac OS. Just look at the icons beneath each game’s name, and log in with Steam on a machine running that OS if you want to play it. (In case you can’t tell from the sale banner, the penguin icon is Linux, even though the only “Linux” that Steam supports right now is Ubuntu.)

Option 2: Install Linux yourself

Why would you do this, when the games all run on Windows PCs or Macs? Besides the fact that a lot of people find it fun to try out a new OS, you get a free Tux (Linux penguin) item in Team Fortress 2 if you log in to the free-to-play shooter from Linux. Obviously this isn’t a big incentive if you’re not into Team Fortress 2, but if you are it might be worth it, both for the chance to test out Ubuntu and for completionism’s sake. Besides, everything’s better with penguins.

The Ubuntu home page will explain how to download and install Ubuntu for free. You don’t have to replace your Windows or Mac installation with it; you can instead put it right alongside the existing OS. You’ll want to backup your personal data first, though, if you aren’t already using Time Machine or a similar backup utility. …

Kentucky Storms, Weather Cause Phone Outages for Thousands of “877” and “866” Phone Numbers

Kentucky Storms, Weather Cause Phone Outages for Thousands of “877” and “866” Phone Numbers


Due to a storm in Kentucky, thousands of “877” and “866” numbers are no longer working. This has not only led to the inability for companies to receive phone calls, it has created an even larger problems with credit card processing companies.

According to Cynergy Data, the storm in Kentucky knocked out fiber optic lines that process the thousands of “877” and “866” phone numbers made every day. Cynergy Data claimed these lines may be down for several days. This may have negative effects on businesses especially small businesses who are already struggling in our lagging economy.

As a small business owner I first noticed my credit card and food stamp machines not working early Wednesday afternoon. Several phone calls to my credit card processing company and to the phone company resulted in both claiming innocence and bewilderment.

Talking to the neighboring business owners I discovered their ability to process credit card transactions had ended as well. The phone company repair man, upon showing up to try to fix the problem, thinking it was isolated to our store, claimed that many businesses across the area were calling and complaining of the inability to process credit cards.

The phone company repair man, despite saying that many stores were having the same issue still said it had to be the credit card processing company. We knew this was impossible because food stamps and credit cards are processed by different processing companies in our store. We also use a different processing company than our neighboring businesses do.

The inability to process credit cards has already cost our small grocery store hundreds of dollars, especially in food stamp purchases. The outage also affected our low income customers who rely on food stamps to put food on the dinner table. It was hard to watch these customers leave their carts of food unpaid for wondering how they were going to pay for the food they needed to feed their families.

As the economy has worsened I have seen more and more customers paying for their food on credit cards or food stamps. This credit and debit card processing outage could mean that the economy as a whole will suffer.

Consumers who are planning on shopping may want to bring back up cash, as your local store may not be able to take credit or debit cards for the next few days.

Sources:

Numerous phone calls with Cynergy Data and the Embarq phone company.…

How Mobile Android Development Works

How Mobile Android Development Works


Android applications are widely available, but finding the ones that you need can be a challenge. There are simply too many to choose from. When you have a guide for that, it can help. Here is s bit of that and some information on how mobile Android development works.

Android applications are Java based. Written through SDK in the Linux operating system, Android app development is very open to those who wish to use this platform to display their application. The best feature in the Android app development is the ability to use other applications with a new creation. It means that developers do not have to “re-invent the wheel” to get an application out. It saves time and money. The applications are really useful too. Here are some of the best ones to date.

“Google Talk” is the first application that is a must. If you do not have it already, then you need to get it installed. You can text for free through gmail. The best feature is the fact that it is free. Just go to the Android Marketplace and hit “download.” In fact, while you are there, get Google everything. They have a mobile Android application for nearly anything that you would do on your desktop.

Then download “Advanced Task Killer” for your phone. It allows you to use your phone with far less memory. It allows you to kill any applications that you do not need. In fact, it helps you prevent the pesky applications that you end up deleting. You know, the ones that say they do this and you discover that they really do “that.” Those applications can be easily put in check with this application.

“Shop Savvy” is next on the list. This application is really fun. You use your camera to snap a picture of a product that you wish to buy. It then shows you the competitions price. The prices are listed starting with the cheapest price available. You can even get local listings. That way, you save money.

“Scan Doc” is another useful mobile Android application. You can scan documents through a picture. Then you can save or send any document that you have on the road. This one is very useful if you are self-employed. Snap a picture to scan any document that you need to file away.

“Drop Box” is another of the Android applications that you really need to have. It is perfect for travel between home and work. Anything that you have on your computer at work or home can be accessed through this application. That way you can always stay connected to your life at work or at home.

“VRecorder” is perfect for taking voice notes or recording anything. It allows you unlimited vocal recording time. Then you can email or text the voice notes to anyone. It is really handy to have on your phone. This saves your voice notes to your memory card. That means that you …

Recycle Your Old Cell Phone and Other E-Waste into Cash

Recycle Your Old Cell Phone and Other E-Waste into Cash


Rapidly changing technology has resulted in rapidly accumulating e-waste. Often times fully functional cell phones, computers or game consoles become landfill fodder or closest clutter. Several companies have recognized this problem and are offering solutions that help both your wallet and the environment.

Cell Phones

With every member of the family having one, cell phone e-waste can add up quickly. Thanks to cellforcash so can the payout. The company will buy back a wide range of used cell phones provided they are still in working condition.

The site’s design makes selling back your phone easy. The buyback system is arranged like an online store. You can browse for your phone by brand and then model. Each phone has a picture and the price the company will pay for it. Just click the “sell” button to add to your cart. Once you are done, you will be lead through a simple checkout process with instructions on sending in your phone.

Not surprisingly, newer model phones will bring the best prices. At the time of this writing, cellforcash offered as much as $250 for used iPhones. Many older phones had prices averages of $9 or $10.

If your phone is old enough to be mistaken for a brick, the site will probably not be able to offer anything for it directly, but don’t loose hope. Cellforcash links to partner sites that may offer up to a $20 credit towards a new phone – even if your phone is a bit brick like. Lastly, the company links to charity and recycling centers.

XBOX, iPod and Digital Cameras

While selling your old mp3 player or portable game system on eBay is certainly a good way to turn it into cash, it does have some disadvantageous. In order to get top dollar you will have to craft a strongly compelling listing and compete with other sellers. Even with a good listing, you will not know until the auction closes what price your gear will actually grab.

An alternative is to sell you used tech to beyondthepod. The site will give you a fixed price for your used game system, camera or mp3 player. Much like cellforcash, the company offers a straightforward shopping style interface that allows you to select the item you wish to sell, and specify its condition. You will then get an instant price. While the company pays the highest price for newer electronics in good condition, they also purchase some electronics even if they are broken.

Used Computers

Online auctions may be the first place you look to when it is time to upgrade your PC, but once again, they may not be the best place. The online auction market is swamped by PC owners trying to get a little cash to help fund an upgrade. Assuming you do find a buyer, auction fees and the cost of shipping a heavy PC can thin out your profit margin quickly.

Tiger Direct offers …

Virgin Mobile Androids: Worth the Money?

Virgin Mobile Androids: Worth the Money?


Virgin mobile offers a wide array of cell phones for a cheap price. As most cheap products, some of them do not work properly and are a waste of money and time. At the same time, there are some phones that are very much worth what you pay. But how do you know which phones will last you a long time and which ones won’t?

The first android phone I will discuss is the Virgin Mobile Venture, currently sold for $34.99. This cell phone is powered by Android 2.3, a slightly older Android platform. This phone is bar-style, meaning the phone does not open or slide. It has a full QWERTY physical keyboard, as well. This phone is very sleek and overall, and it is fairly simple to use. This phone is somewhat bulky, which makes the phone much harder to break. My Virgin Mobile Venture went down flights of stairs, fell in water and was dropped countless times. The only damage that was done are some generally unnoticeable scratches. In addition to these positive features, there is one terrible feature: battery life. I had to charge this phone up to three times a day, even when I hardly used it. If you open and use an application for more than 5 minutes, the battery will drain and the phone will power down. Another major issue with this phone is call quality. Each call you make on this phone comes in with static and is very difficult to hear. Overall, the Virgin Mobile is a good phone, but is not a great phone.

The next android I will review is the Kyocera Rise. This phone is powered by the all-new Android 4.0. It features a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and a 3.5 inch touchscreen. The camera on this phone is a 3.2 Megapixel, which is a good quality for a cell phone camera. This phone is much more delicate than the Virgin Mobile Venture, meaning it is slightly easier to damage. In addition to these features, this cell phone has wonderful battery life. I used this phone quite frequently and I only had to charge it once a day, if that. Overall, the Kyocera Rise is worth the money you pay. This phone can be purchased for good prices, between $69.99 and $79.99.

You can browse Virgin Mobile cell phones here.…

Best Phone Recovery Tools for Android

Best Phone Recovery Tools for Android


When you lose your phone, it’s a nigthmare. Where did I live it? At home? In the car? Did it fell of the street? Was it stolen? You can get your Android back by using some recovery tools. There are all types of services that will allow you to track and find where your phone is and hopefully get it back.

Best Phone Recovery Tools for Android: SeekDroid

This is a nice and simple utility to help you find your android. And the bast part is almost free! It costs only $0.99. The application allows you find you device by tracking it on Google map. You will also be able to lock it remotely lock it. If you have set up SeekDroid you can also make sound an alarm and display a message to return the phone. Once you have realised you have lost your Android you manage everything from the SeekDroid Web site.

Best Phone Recovery Tools for Android: Where’s My Droid

If you really want a free phone recovery tool for your Android this it!. Where’s My Droid is a completely free utility that “finds” a lost Android phone very easily. It has two modes: one to search your phone in your home and another one to find it if you have lost it out of your home. In the first mode it allows you to make sound and alarm to locate your droid. In the second mode it allows to use the phone GPS capabilities to locate it on a map. You can send message to be displayed on your lost phone so a good Samaritan can return it to you..

Best Phone Recovery Tools for Android: Prey

This service will cost between $5 to 399 per month depending on number of phones you wish to protect. Is an anti theft application. Once you realize your phone is lost or if you get robbed you simply send a text message with an activation phrase. Prey will deactivate your phone automatically and send periodical updates on its location.

These are three of Best Phone Recovery Tools for Android. Now is your turn, leave a comment. What do you think should be included additionally in this post?…

How to Tether an Android Gingerbread Smartphone to a Laptop Via Bluetooth

How to Tether an Android Gingerbread Smartphone to a Laptop Via Bluetooth


As mobile carriers roll out more advanced mobile data networks, including the current 4G, which delivers wireless data Internet speeds comparable to cable broadband, many users are shirking their wired Internet connections and tethering their cell phones to their laptops instead. Tethering is the act of connecting a cell phone to a computer so that it functions as a modem. Once connected, you can then access the Internet on your laptop via your cell phone. While most tethering apps require the phone to be physically connected to the laptop via a USB cable, you can use a simple app to connect via Bluetooth instead, turning your Android smartphone into a Wi-Fi router.

Step 1: Turn on your Android smartphone and tap the “Google Play” icon, which is the new replacement for the previous “Marketplace” icon. This will open the Google Play (Marketplace) store. Tap the button with the picture of a magnifying glass located in the top right-side of the screen. Type “PDANet” into the search field, then tap the magnifying glass button again to find the app.

Step 2: Tap the “PDANet” listing when it appears in the search results. Once the app’s page opens, tap “Download.” PDANet is free for the first 14 days, at which point you must pay for the app. You’ll receive a notification at the top of your smartphone when the app has downloaded and been installed.

Step 3: Open the list of applications on your phone and select “PDANet.” The app will open. Tap “Turn on Bluetooth DUN.” If Bluetooth is currently disabled on your phone, the app will prompt you to enable it. Once Bluetooth is enabled, PDANet will attempt to connect with your Bluetooth-enabled laptop for 120 seconds.

Step 4: Click the “Wireless Networks” icon on the bottom right-side of the Windows taskbar on your computer. Select “Dial-Up” connection. You will have to set up the connection for the first time. Select your wireless carrier and enter your phone number into the appropriate text fields when prompted, then click “Connect.” The computer will dial into the phone as if it were a dial-up modem. Once dialed in, you will be connected to the Internet n your computer via your smartphone’s data connection and Bluetooth. 

How to Tether an Android Gingerbread Smartphone to a Laptop Via Bluetooth

As mobile carriers roll out more advanced mobile data networks, including the current 4G, which delivers wireless data Internet speeds comparable to cable broadband, many users are shirking their wired Internet connections and tethering their cell phones to their laptops instead. Tethering is the act of connecting a cell phone to a computer so that it functions as a modem. Once connected, you can then access the Internet on your laptop via your cell phone. While most tethering apps require the phone to be physically connected to the laptop via a USB cable, you can use a simple app …

How to Install Linux as a Virtual Machine Under Microsoft Windows

How to Install Linux as a Virtual Machine Under Microsoft Windows


Some people have taken the Linux ‘Text Drive’ using a Linux Live media. Now they want to go the next step further but are not comfortable with swapping out Windows completely yet. Well these people have the choose of keep using the Live media and or they can install Linux as a virtual machine under Microsoft Windows. That is to say, Linux will run as a Microsoft Windows’ application, an application that Windows gives complete control to. Linux, the Windows application, at install time, will create a file of a length set at install tie. This file will contain the Linux file system. A smaller file will be created to to be used as a swap file. With the Linux Windows application having complete control of the Windows system Linux runs effectively under Windows.

Some things should be note such as the Linux virtual machine runs a bit slower especially when accessing the hard disk drive. Note that this virtual machine then can run in the same partition as Windows.

For those who would like to install Linux as a virtual machine under Windows should follow the steps listed below.

1.Obtain a copy of the Linux Live media.

2.Burn that copy, usually in an ‘iso’ file onto the appropriate media (CD/DVD/USB Flashdrive).

3.On the Live media there will be a file that runs under Microsoft Windows. Execute this file while in Windows. This file will give you the option to install Linux under Windows. Choose that option.

4.Follow the prompts during the setup process.

5.Once the setup process has been completed and system has been restarted you will be present with a Boot Menu that allows you to choose the Windows or Linux.

At the time of this writing only the only Windows version tested was Microsoft Windows 7 and only Ubuntu and Linux Mint were the only Linux distribution tested.…

Movie Projectors for the Cell Phone

Movie Projectors for the Cell Phone


Isn’t it amazing the age we live in? We can download movies and television shows into our cell phones, and watch them no matter where we are! Of course, it’s all on a 2 inch screen! Portable Media Players may give us a few more inches, but still, you’re watching something designed for a big screen on a little one.

Well, there may be another outlet. At this year’s CTIA Wireless show, Texas Instruments (TI) demonstrated a Digital Light Processing (DLP) “pico” projector, a tiny movie projector that is able to fit inside the tip of a cell phone. This projector has three lasers, a DLP ship, and measures about 1.5 inches long. It is the same technology that is in projection TV sets, but miniaturized.

A company called Upstream Engineering in Finland is also attempting to create a projector in a cell phone. Only their projector uses a Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology, but still has the same problems. There are concerns whether the light will be bright enough, as projection technology requires quite a lot of lumens (units of brightness) to create a succinct image. The DLP, which uses lasers, could be the one that can produce quality images and still remain a small piece of hardware.

None of my sources say just how large an image the DLP can project. Apparently, the image will be “DVD quality”. Hopefully, they found a way to make it focus clearly, because the idea of holding it continuously in my hand for extended periods of time already makes my muscles sore. TI has not provided pictures of what the projected images look like, but then again, they probably are something that you would have to see in front of you in order to really appreciate.

TI has also not said when these cell phone/projectors will be available. Right now, the picture that I have is one that was released to the press about a week ago. The phone on it is fake, and I’m guessing that it will take a while before TI perfects how to integrate a cell and projector in the same little box. I also haven’t heard anything about sound quality, so I am assuming that any sound would be as good as what comes through the wearer’s headphones.

I’m not certain how this new technology will change mobile entertainment as we know it. Having a mini-movie projector probably won’t help if you want to watch it on a bus. Unless the bus happens to have a good section of white wall that it will let you use. That, or maybe the driver will let you lie down on the floor so you can project on the ceiling. That might work for mini-van passengers.

I also don’t know if this would work on an airplane, because don’t they ask you to turn your cell phones off? Still, assuming they let you use the projector, you could project your own in-flight movie on …