Sunday, March 24, 2013

Back To Stock: Tired of a those gimics cluttering your Android phone? The Verge has you covered.

For most Android users, your phone's User Interface (UI) isn't as clean and simple as the nice folks at Google intended. What you have is what the maker of your particular phone thought the UI should look like to stand out from all the other Android phones out at the time. Now I happen to like the version of HTC Sense that came with my HTC Inspire a year and a half ago when I bought it (yeah, almost time for an upgrade) but an update about six months ago changed the lock screen, and I hate it.

Thankfully Android allows you to change the UI yourself, and lots of software makers have come up with solutions to your interface issues. The good people at The Verge have some cool tips to fix a few of the most common gripes with manufacturer altered UIs (including Lock Screens and Keyboards) and a lot of them are free!

Check it out at The Verge ... Full Story

CNET test drives the Razor Edge gaming tablet

No, it's not a Surface Pro with joysticks stuck to it... It's better!

The Razor Edge gaming tablet is a Windows 8 tablet alright, but it was built with serious fun in mind. The top end model features 1.9/3Ghz I7 processor, 8 gigs of RAM. a 2 Gb Nvidia graphics card, and 256 Gb solid state drive. It's also comes with that sweet controller dock which turns it into a giant handheld gaming console. It's also features a HDMI port and can output video at full 1080p resolution. The dock also features a slot at the back for a spare battery for all day gaming sessions. The only thing this sweet package doesn't have is an expansion card slot. That's right, there's not even an SD card slot, which so far is the only thing I don't like about it, but it does have a single USB 3.0 port and when you add the game dock you get three more, so an external card reader isn't out of the question.

So... How much will all this mobile gaming awesomeness set you back? $1449 USD. Not cheap, but if you're a hardcore gamer who's got places to be, it's might bet worth it. There's also a $999 model (about the same price as a Surface Pro) which has a 1.7/2.6Ghz I5 chip and less memory.

For more info, check out CNET's full review

Monday, March 18, 2013


Sorry for the lack of posts lately, other projects have been keeping me busy and or tired the last few days. I'll try to get back to posting regularly this week.

Lots of news...

The Galaxy SIV has been unveiled! There are rumors about new Nexus 7s, and delays for the retina iPad Mini. An Apple executive made a dig about Android at a press event (expect a rant about that). All that and more once I've had some sleep...

So stay tuned....


I'm soo lonely...

(Just joking. Not about the loneliness part, but you can pretty much do whatever ya want! LOL. Tired now!)

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 goes on sale for $179.99, is now a good time to buy?

Samsung's line up of tablets and smart phones is constantly expanding, with flagship and budget models all over the place. The Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 isn't exactly new, but it has always been a good choice for those wanting a 7 inch Android tablet. With prices dropping, and a newer model almost certainly in the works, is now a good time to buy?

Yes and No.

If you have to have the latest OS version, most recent updates, and fastest processor then No. Go for the Nexus 7, or wait for one of the gaming tablets due out in the next few months (rumors are starting to circle about a new Nexus 7, just BTW).

If your interested in a good, solid, well made tablet, or you just want to see what all the fuss about tablets is all about, and you don't want to spend an arm and a leg, you could do a lot worse then this smooth running little tablet. (Trust me, I have)

Read my full Quick Review Here

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Rumor Mill: 3D Camera on the Galaxy S4?

With the offical launch event tomorrow, there are still rumors floating around the interwebs about the Samsung Galaxy S4. The newest batch of rumors seem to focus on a patent that Samsung is said to have applied for concerning "2D 3D Movie and Still" technology. I wouldn't hold my breath on this one though, honestly, because the 3D gimic has been tried before with smartphones and the publics responce was a resounding "Meh"!

Also, "leaked photos" of the new S4 have been trumped by alleged "leaked video" of someone testing the new phone. Most people aren't taking these videos too seriously since the phone being tested looks suspiciously like a Galaxy Note 2.

One thing that has been all but confirmed is that new Galaxy S4 will probably have a plastic casing. When asked, a company official said that this is most likey to speed up production since demand for the phone is expected to be pretty high, and to make the phone more shock resistant (plastic absord impacted force better, while metal transmits it to other componants).

Monday, March 11, 2013

Don't Panic: Today's Google Doodle honors the 61st Birthday of Writer Douglas Adams

Douglas Noel Adams. Creator of
the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
(March 11, 1952-May 11, 2001)
If you don't know why this post is titled "Don't Panic", then please head to a library or the Kindle Store and check out one of Douglas Adams books, ASAP!  (Don't Panic is, of coarse a referance to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, perhaps Adam's most famous peice of work. It was writen as a radio show for BBC Radio, but later became a TV show, a stage play, a novel, and finally a feature film. The novel and radio show spawned so many sequels that the term Trilogy can no longer be used for legal reasons.)

Douglas Adams is, without a doubt, my favorite author. His wit and humor, though devilishly subtle and subversive at times, managed to do something humor so rarely can, but Adams was ever so good at, making you think. His take on Alien politics, trans-dimensional philosophy, and the nature of exsistance in the Hitchhiker series was in many ways, as thought provoking as it was hilarious. For those who read between the lines, you couldn't help but notice the parallels between Douglas' fictional universe and the obsurdity of real life. And for those who only took his writing at face value, they were still treated to a wacky, humor filled trip through time, space, life, death, and alternative reality.

In the 1990's, Adams became increasingly facinated with technology and the environment. He penned Last Chance to See with Mark Carwardine, which talked about the extinction of species all over the world and , using his trade-mark wit, chided foolish humans for our short-sitedness.

So, why you ask, is a blog about technology rambling on and on about a humorist and sci-fi writer? Because he was funny, brilliant, and frequently right!

If you haven't already, check out The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Universe One Last Time . It's collection of notes, ideas and articles by Adams published after his death in 2001.  In several places throughout the book he talks about his love of technology and his observations of why it doesn't really work. From attempting to type out an article on an old palm-top computer while in the bath, to attempting to predict the future, to why we all have so many damn charger "dongles" laying around the house, Adams' is hilarious, insiteful and right on the money. If you're a lover of technology, Sci-Fi, or you like a good "it's funny 'cause it's true" laugh, check out Salmon of Doubt and the rest of Douglas Adams' work. Your brain will love you for the rest of your life!

"It's a tough universe! There's lots of people out there trying to rob you, con you, do you, kill you... Everything! If you want to survive, you've really got to know where you towel is!"
- Ford Prefect, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Gaming Review: EA's Real Racing 3

I noticed, a days ago, that EA Games (makers of Need for Speed: Most Wanted) have a new driving game for Android. (Okay, I'm waylate on this, but A.) Nobody tells me this stuff ahead of time and B.) It's a 1.7 Gb download and I have DSL so it takes forever.)

Anyway, I got around to downloading it, because I love racing games, and I was curious about the claim that it was a realistic racing game with no Nitrous, no Slow-mo, no gimics. Well, after the lengthly download, the game loads up and the opening animatic plays. Already the graphics look great (Haven't messed with the settings to see just how high is up, yet). Maybe not top of the line new console great, but really great for a mobile game. Once gameplay starts, it lives up to it's claim. You can upgrade the cars and buy new cars with in-game cash, but unlike other past EA titles, you also have to maintain the cars you have by changing the oil, replacing the tires and repairing in-game damage.

Also, this game uses Time Shifted Multiplayer. This feature lets you race against the times of other racers though the game does adjust their performace so that you can interact with the other cars.

Overall, after just an hour or so of gameplay, I have to say it's a good game, good graphics, fun gameplay.

That said, there is at least one thing I found annoying. When you do required maintenance, there's a time delay. what I mean is when you select change oil from the maintenance menu you have to wait 5 minutes while the oil is being changed, or sacrifice in-game rewards points to have it done now. That would get old fast if you have alot of maintenance to do.

Other then that, good game, I can see it being alot of fun on a slow tuesday night. BTW, did I mention that it's FREE! For that price, lets call it awesome!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The White House Agrees with You: Cell Phone Unlocking should be Legal

A while back I did an article on the recent ruling by the Library of Congress, that unlocking your cell phone so that it can be used on a different carriers network is now illegal. I knew this was gonna be a hot button issue, I even signed an online petition to reconsider the decision ( and as a rule, I usually don't sign petitions ) and so did 114,321 others who were no doubt as pissed as I was.

Well folks, It appears that the Obama administration agrees with those of us outraged because we can't use a device that we have already paid for on the carrier of our choosing. The White House even sent out an email to signers of the petition, pledging it's support to find a legislative fix to the problem.

So, what does this mean? Well don't go unlocking your old phone just yet, because even though the White House is on the case, a legal solution may be months away ( it's not like the folks in Washington don't have bigger problems right now, like... um, part of the federal government shutting down for budget reasons ). The up side is that at least the government has finally acknowledged that the cell phone company's and manufacturers have been, on some level, violating your basic rights as a property owner for years by telling you what service you can and can not use after you are no longer financially or contractually obligated to them anymore. The FCC is currently reviewing the issue to determine the best course of action and has urged the Library of Congress to reconsider and seek a better solution.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Roku 3 hits stores today

Roku released their newest streaming player today. For those not familiar with the Roku, it's a set top streaming media player, similar to Apple TV or Google TV. You plug it into your TV set and stream internet video services like Netflix or Amazon Instant Video straight to your TV. I've had the Roku 2 XS for over a year now and while I expected it to be a novelty, I have to say I love it. Roku really let's you get your moneys worth out of Netflix or Amazon Instant Video while leaving your computer or tablet free for other things.
The new Roku 3 looks to make things even better with an enhanced User Interface and a faster processor. It also adds new features like a head phone jack in the wireless remote control so you can listen to Pandora Internet Radio without disturbing others in the house or watch a movie or TV show without others disturbing you! How cool is that? Also, with a faster processor, the Roku 3 may finally be able to add the one thing that's truly been missing from the device, an official YouTube app. ( the company has said that in the older models, watching YouTube videos was a "disappointing experience" so an official app was never released)
With 750 channels of streaming content and counting ( including Netflix, Amazon Instant, HBO GO, Crackle, Hulu Plus, Pandora, AOL On, Disney, Smithsonian, CNET, SyFy and lots more) Roku has been a favorite of many, even over bigger name models from Apple, Google, and Sony (plus Apple TV doesn't get HBO Go and many other channels). The new model also comes preloaded with Angry Birds: Space (The older XS model came with the original Angry Birds and Angry Birds Seasons is available for free download in the Channel Store). If you don't own a streaming player, but are interested in getting one, I highly recommend getting the new Roku 3, it may be the best streaming player yet.
And if you already have a Roku 2, there is good news for you too, the company says that the new user interface will be available for download in April.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

AT&T, T Mobile, and Sprint list new HTC ONE as coming soon.

No Release date is given on the product page, but HTC's new flagship device is coming to AT&T Wireless. Features mentioned on the page include HTC's new BlinkFeed which looks to be a tiled live home screen similar to the interface on Window 8 phones, HTC Boomsound enhanced audio with BEATS technology to compliment the dual stereo front speakers, and HTC ZOE live photo album.

To help keep loyal customer (Since HTC's sales have slumped in recent months) HTC is offering an interesting trade-in program for the HTC ONE. If you send in a HTC phone for the trade-in, HTC will give you market value for the phone or $100 towards a new HTC ONE, which ever value is greater! You have to purchase you new HTC ONE by March 31,2013 and mail the old device back by April 30 to get the trade-in but that's a not a bad deal if you've got an aging HTC phone laying around. HTC's Official Page

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Rumor Mill: Samsung Galaxy S4 Update

With Mobile World Congress in full swing and dozens of manufacturers rolling out new devices, it's time to update the rumors surounding the most anticipated Android devise of the years, the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Firstly, Samsung has confirmed that it will be unveiling it's new flagship device on March 14 at an event that they are calling "Samsung Unpacked". Formal invitations have already been issued to the press. Samsung will also live stream the event on their Youtube page at 7p.m. EST.

Secondly, Samsung is partnering with Visa to add secure mobile payment technology, called PayWave to it's devices. While neither company named the Galaxy S4 specifically, it would be a fair guess that as the company's flagship and successor to the most popular Android phone of all time the S4 would be the first ship with Visa's new secure payment applet.

Thirdly, CNET reports that Samsung is considering embedding it's new security software package, "KNOX", with the S4. KNOX is part of Samsung's SAFE initiative (Samsung For Enterprise) which ads security features that comply with many corporate IT policies and Government requirements.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Samsung Officially announces Galaxy Note 8 at Mobile World Congress

Samsung officially introduced the world to the Note 8 tablet at MWC. The Note 8 is sized to be direct competition for the iPad Mini. Features so far include 1.6 GHz Quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, SD card slot, 5 megapixel camera, Samsung's S-pen functionality, and an IR port for use ase a TV remote control. At roughly the same size and weight as the iPad Mini, and healthy performance specs to boot, the real question is one of price. Samsung has not given any pricing info on the Note 8 as yet, but as the Note series are concidered Premium devices, don't expect them to try and under-cut Apple's pricing on the Mini (which starts at $349).

So far the, the only hint of disappointment seems to be that the U.S. model will be Wifi only, while the international models will get 3G capabilty (no 4G or LTE capabilty was mentioned). Comments on CNET's original post already have readers complaining about both, but hey, some people just gotta complaint about something. My only hope is that Samsung doesn't price this neat little tablet right out of the market.

HP: back in the tablet business

As news starts to flow in from Mobile World Congress, a surprise to some is the announcement that Hewlett Packard is back in the tablet game. HP's new Slate 7 will be an Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) device with a 3megapixel camera, Dual-core Arm A9 processor and a stainless steel chassis with "Soft touch" backing. All this and a projected price of $169

With the last HP consumer tablet, the TouchPad,  a flop it looks like the giant PC maker is trying a different strategy. With the TouchPad, HP used it's own software and custom OS, which meant it couldn't take advantage of Android's market (now Google Play) and it was hyped as competition for the iPad. The Slate 7 is targeted more at buyers considering the Nexus 7 or Samsung Galaxy Tab and uses Android but with a few custom apps, including one that will let user print wirelessly from that Slate 7 to a wifi connected HP printer.

Since current HP Slate tablets are Windows 8 business devices it's been strongly hinted that HP will have Windows 8 consumer tablets and even smartphones coming soon as well. The Slate 7 is due to be released in April 2013

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Smartphone maker HTC debutes it's new Flagship device ahead of the Mobile World Congress to get a jump on the competition. So far experts and reviewers seem to be impressed. With specs including a 4.7 inch 1080p screen, dual speaker Beats Audio sound, a 1.7 GHz Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 Processor, 2 GB of RAM and either 32 or 64 GB of storage wrapped in a sleek all aluminum unibody chassis this looks like a monster performer.

While first impressions are positive, reviewers are already worried that the HTC One will be immediatly overshadowed by the upcomming announcement of the Samsung Galaxy S4, which is expected shortly after MWC. This wouldn't be the first time HTC has released a world class smartphone, only to have buyers completely overlook it. As an HTC fan, I'll be watching this one closely.

Visit HTC

Cutting Edge: Transparent Smartphone Prototype

Polytron of Taiwan gave Mobile Geeks a rare chance to check out an early prototype for a see-thru smartphone. It's still in the earliest stages, so it can't make calls yet and many of the components will have to be hidden behind an opaqe panel but this could be a real life version of Tony Stark's (Robert Downey Jr) Phone/PDA from Iron Man 2.

I don't know if I'd really want a transparent phone that would be almost invisible when you put it down or drop it and the display isn't backlit yet so checking you email/caller ID in a dark room is out, but it is so cool that somebody is working on this. Don't expect to see these at Best Buy any time soon but Polytron is hoping to see limited production by the end of the year.

And the award for the creepiest use of social media goes to...

I usually treat most forms of social media a lot like i treat the huge spider that lives in the corner of my yard, I try to ignore it and hope it goes away, but this was way to wierd to ignore. A service called LivesOn promises to use software artificial intelligence to learn your Twitter feed habits, likes and dislikes, etc. and issue new Tweets for you... after your dead! I don't do Twitter but if I did and I got a Tweet from someone I know is already dead I'd unfriend them, abandon the account, and seek professional help.

 (and if you'd be interested in this creepy-assed service; no offence guys; I suggest you save us all the hassle of hearing about your all-consuming love of Justin Bieber and Team Edward and just get a life now, while you still can...)

Steve Wozniak warns Apple to Stay Cool

Apple Computers Co-Founder and
Computing Legend Steve "The Woz" Wozniak
Steve Wozniak spoke about Apple, the company that he co-founded with the late Steve Jobs, in an interview with Bloomberg that came out Wednesday. Wozniak expressed concerns about the company's image, fearing that Apple is losing it's rep as the coolest company in the computer industry.

"We used to have these ads, 'I'm a Mac and I'm a PC,' and the Mac was always the cool guy," Wozniak said in the interview. "And ouch, it's painful, because we kind of are losing that."

Mr. Wozniak also said that Apple is still "really good at setting a standard with a new device," but went on to note that the company's products can't easily beat devices from Amazon and Google because  they "all have great ideas." He ever suggested that Apple open up it's iTunes store to Android and Windows Phone users. Wozniak, who has been more vocal in recent months even commented on his late former business partner, Steve Jobs, saying that he didn't have "to be as much of a real rugged bastard, put people down, and make them feel demeaned."

Wozniak's concerns over Apple's level of innovation in the past few years, with many technology experts expressing disappointment over the last few iPhones since have been as different or as revolutionary as the original. Let's not forget that Apples biggest recent commercial success, the iPad Mini, can about not because Apple thought you wanted or needed it, but because people wouldn't stop asking for it. Steve Job even vowed that there would be no iPad Mini because no one wanted a 7 inch iPad. (even great visionaries swing for the cheap seats and miss even now and then)

Alot of tech expects, reviewers, bloggers, and geeks are hoping that there predictions of a hum drum next gen iPhone are wrong, because if they're aren't it may spell the end of Apple's dominance in the mobile market for good. Let's hope Apple is listen, or has one hell of a surprise up their sleeves, after all... The Great and Powerful Woz has Spoken!

Sources: Bloomberg, CNET,

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Big Picture: Gates says the Direction Microsoft took in Smartphones "Clearly a Mistake"

In an interview on CBS This Morning, Mircosoft Co-Founder and Chairman Bill Gates commented briefly on the state of his company since he stepped down as CEO nearly five years ago. Gates was not overly critical of current CEO, Steve Ballmer, but rather suggested that neither of them were happy with Microsoft's current 2.4 percent stake in the mobile market. Mr. Gates lauded Ballmer for getting "a lot of amazing things done" in his time at the software giant, including Bing, the Surface tablet, Xbox, and Windows 8, which Gates said "is the key to the future".

Gates went on to say that he and Ballmer are "two of the most self critical people (that) you can imagine" and that "We didn't miss cell phones, but the way we went about it didn't allow us to get the leadership. So it's clearly a mistake." Hopefully this indicates that Microsoft is working to reform it's somewhat lack-luster image in the mobile market and will strive to be more innovative in the year ahead.

Also in the news today, China is expected to overtake the U.S. as the world's leader consumer of Smart Devices by months end. New date suggest that the Chinese people will be using an estimated 246 million active Android and iOS devices by the end of February to the U.S.'s 230 million. With the vast differances in population (China has approx. 1.3 Billion citizens to the U.S.'s approx 310 million) it is unlikely that the U.S. will overtake China again in mobile use. India (approx. 1.2 Billion citizens) is the only country that may every overtake China in the mobile market.

Sources: CBS News, CNET

Monday, February 18, 2013

Rumor Mill: More Galaxy S4 rumors, Plus LG and Google...

With the Mobile World Congress about a week away, there are a lot of rumors going around but very few facts to back them up.

Russian analyst Eldar Murtazin speculated on Sammobile that Samsung could officially announce the next Galaxy S phone around March 14. Samsung has already stated that will not be unvieling it's newest flagship phone at Mobile World Congress, prefering instead to host a seperate event to launch the next Galaxy S. So the timing sounds about right.

Murtazin's report also speculates on some of the upcoming devices specs, and if they're right the new S4 will be the new gold standard for Android devices (just like it's predecessor). Rumored specs include a Exynos 5 Octa (8-Core) processor coupled with a Mali-T678 (8-Core) graphics chip, 2GB of RAM, a 13 Mega-pixel camera with 1080p capability, and a  4.99-inch SuperAMOLED screen, and Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2. With specs like that we would also expect the new S4 to be one of the first devices to get Android 5.0 (Key Lime Pie) when it comes out later this year.

In other news, LG has released details for it's upcoming Optimus G Pro. Headlining the spec for this beast are a 1.7Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, a 1,920x1,080 pixel 5.5 inch AMOLED screen, 2 GBs of RAM and a 13 Mega-pixel camera.

On the Google front, Senior VP of Engineering Vic Gundotra, said on Google+ that Google is "committed to making Nexus phones insanely great cameras. Just you wait and see." So far, while the Nexus 4 has been a great and affordable option with the amoung the most up to date software, it has not been known for outstanding camera quality. It looks as though Google is planing to change that reputation and maybe take some of the camera spotlight away from makers like Apple and HTC who are famous for the imaging capabilities of their devices.

Sources: Google+, CNET, Sammobile

Sunday, February 17, 2013

How Apple got it's Style...

For those of us who remember the 1980's, here's an interesting peek into the past.

In "Design Foward" with arrives on bookstore shelves this week, Industrial Designer Hartmut Esslinger talks about his design work for Apple Computers during the mid-80's. The book features photos of many odd and interesting design studies done for the young company in it's pre-Macintosh days (and even some concepts that hint at the origins of the Mac). A lot of the more facinating concepts were never used or didn't make it to production, and even a few early tablet designs that were way ahead of there time, but they are still cool pieces of computing history and modern design.

CNET has the scoop (and lots of cool pictures like the Music Mac at right) Here

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Surface Pro for gamers?

Four days ago, the Surface Pro from Microsoft hits stores. So far the reaction has been mostly positive. Microsoft's online store ran out of the 128 Gigabyte version on day one. That's great news for Microsoft, but are they missing something?

According to a post from Jason Evangelho from and a related post on CNET by Brooke Crothers, the Surface Pro can run Valve's Portal 2 as well as Diablo III at near top graphics setting! This is quite a performance acheivement when most laptop and budget desktop PC's are too anemic to manage such a feat. So what's the problem? Microsoft isn't bragging about it!

After months of brazzen advertisements featuring young professionals (and school children with way to much attitude) break dancing in praise of the Surface RT and Surface Pro, not to mention most peoples disappointment with the Surface RT's operating system, Microsoft should be shouting the Pro's powerhouse capabilities from the roof tops! But, instead the Surface Pro is being advertised as a business tool, ignoring a prime set of technological early adopters... Gamers and Tech geeks who would be far more likely to take notice of the Surface Pro if they knew it could be a kick-ass gaming rig.

This isn't the first time Microsoft has been involved in a series of products made for business and ignored the obvious entertainment potential of that product. About a decade ago now (Oh God, I still can't believe I'm over thirty! I wrote and complain about this on my first blog!) Microsoft all but won the war for supremacy in the Person Digital Assistant market with it's Pocket PC OS running in champion level devices from HP, Dell, Casio, Sony and many, many others. The trouble with PDA's including Pocket PC devices was that they where only ever marketed to business professionals.

The general public was scarcely aware that such devices even existed. The Smartphone trend inproved awareness a bit with devices like the Tilt, but the main marketing focus remained on the business person. The irony of all this is that sites like Handango (the Appstore of it's day) consistantly reported the No 1 category of sales was always either Games or Entertainment! Eidos Int. even made a version of Tomb Raider just for Pocket PC, thats how popular gaming was with PDA owners and how capable the devices where!

But Microsoft never capitalized on this hidden talent by marketing these multifunction marvels to the masses. All this just became a missed opportunity of epic scale because when the iPhone and iPod touch hit the market, they essentially killed Pocket PC's (which by then had been rebranded as Windows Mobile) market share. Windows 8 Phone edition is slowly gaining a following but this may be proof that Microsoft has still not learned it's lesson (either that or there is a massive 2nd phase to the ad campain that we haven't seen yet).

With so many gaming products due out this year that center around the Android OS, let's hope Microsoft has trick up it's sleave or starts paying attention soon, before the Surface Pro becomes another example of missed opportunity for the aging software giant.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Charge you Smartphone on the go... With a Fuel Cell?

It's been in the making for a while now, but Lilliputian Systems has come out with a portable charger for mobile devices that runs on fuel cell technology. The Nectar charger uses butane to generate electrical current. It's estimated that a single butane cartidge could charge your cell phone one a day for 2 weeks. The Nectar is even TSA approved so you can take on long trip involving airtravel, not sure if you can use it on the plane though. The Nectar charger will run you about $299 with extra butane cartidges running about $10 each.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Epiphany One Puck may be the worlds coolest coaster...I mean Phone Charger

A Kickstarter project called the Epiphany One Puck maybe the coolest way to charge your phone ever, plus it keeps those unsightly ring off you coffee table. The gadget, which is still raising funds on Kickstarter (so there's still a chance to get in on the ground floor) uses difference in temperature to generate power to charge a mobile device (though no word yet on how it actually takes) so a cold beer or a hot cup of coffee or tea could charge your device while you relax. The basic technology behind this gadget is a 100 year old concept called the Stirling Engine, nice to see someone put it to good use finally! LOL.

(I could see a great secondary market selling these to bars and restraunts so patrons can top off there phones while they enjoy their favorite beverages)

CNET has more info, but I thought this idea was too clever (and funny) to pass up.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Wikipad 7inch gaming tablet set for Spring 2013 launch

With all the news about gaming tablets in the last few months, I don't know how I missed this. The Wikipad is a 7 inch Android tablet built with gamers in mind. Specs will include a Nvidia Tigra 3 Quad+1 processor with a 12 core graphics chip, a 5 point multi-touch 16:10 IPS screen, 16 Gb of built in storage with Micro SD expansion, and best of all, a sled style dock with D pads, analog Joy Sticks and triggers for serious gaming. With a price tag of around $249.99 and more then enough muscle for both game and business use, I'll be keeping my eye on this on!

(A few more bonus factoids: The Wikipad will be on the first device enabled with Sony's Playstation Mobile service, allowing user to download versions of some popular PS titles. The divice is also supposed to boast 7 hours of continuous battery life (while playing video) for all day gaming and feature HDMI out via cable or wireless for gaming in full 1080p on a big screen.)

For more info check out Wikipad site

Samsung's Galaxy S4 may blow away the competition on Processing power (Rumor Mill)

Rumors are starting to circulate that the new Galaxy S4 (S IV, S IIII, whatever), which may debute as early as this months Mobile World Congress, may feature the first production model 8 core processor!

According to some rumors, Samsung has expanded on the companion core technology already in use in Nvidia's Tegra series (Quad+1) by sandwiching four ARM A7 processors to four ARM A15 chips. The idea is that the A7s do all the boring everyday task that don't and shouldn't use much battery power, while the A15s handle the computational heavy lifting.

If this pans out to be true, Samsung will have a major jump on it's competitors when the S4 hits stores (not that Samsung needs it, they already dominate the Android phone market).

One glitch in this rumor so far is that Samsung isn't really expected to reveil the new S4 at the Mobile World Congress since they are planning a seperate event for the official product launch (like they did last year with the S3).

Microsoft Surface Pro hits stores today

The full Windows 8 version of the Surface hits retail outlets today. If you've been intregued by the commercials and media attention, this is the version of the surface to get. Early adopters who shelled out for the already released Surface RT have been disappointed by the RT's inability to run full Windows applications and the somewhat limited selection of software titles on Microsoft's RT site, but the Pro shouldn't have these issues.

Reviewers have pointed out that some buyers may be dissappointed, however, by the Pro's short battery life compared to other tablet style devices and the fact that the snap on Touch or Type covers made famous by the commercials are not included with either version of the Surface (in fact, it's a $120 to $130 option on top of the Pro's $899 to $999 price tag).

While many casual observers may fear that Microsoft has priced themselves right out of the competition, it is important to remember one thing. That the Surface Pro isn't really a tablet, it's a touch screen ultra book in a 10 inch tablet format. That fact alone ups the price tag and puts the Surface in a category all it's own...for now.

The general option from most reviewers so far is that, while the Surface Pro is a fine device (and better, in many ways, then it's little brother, the Surface RT) it still needs work to be the big deal Microsoft wants it to be.

Sources: CNET, Wired

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Dell goes private in a 24 Billion dollar bid to turn the company around

Michael Dell, founder of the famous but recently flagging PC manufacturer, has rounded up a group of investors to buy out all of the stock in the publicly traded company. While the PC market has been hit hard in recent years with the growing popularity of smartphones, tablets, and ultrabooks, Dell's market share has suffered more then most. Dell hopes that, by privatizing the company he can cast off the current board and reform the company before the former PC giant becomes totally irrelevent.

I can't help but remember that 10 years ago, when I ran my last blog (, Dell briefly made some of the best Windows Mobile based PDA's on the market, but when the Smartphone trend killed the PDA market, Dell jumped ship. Dell made a few notable attempts (like the Dell Streak, which was an Android powered tweener device that was way too big to be a cell phone and too small to compete with the likes of the iPad) then bailed out of mobile tech all together (or so it seems).

My opinion is that Dell Computers has the chops to make a excellent product, now what they need is the stones to jump back into the mobile market and remind consumers why Dell used to be a big deal, and should be again!


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Update: Twitter Hack may have targeted influential people

Data from the cyber attack on Twitter's servers this past week suggests that the hacker may have targeted elected officials, journalists, and influential tech figures. Twitter suggests caution as notable people tend to recycle their online credentials on multiple sites.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Congratulations Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore ravens have won the Super Bowl! Congratulations to the team and city of Baltimore. And Congratulations to the 49ers on a game well played!

Power surge knocks out lights at Super Bowl

A power surge has knocked out about half the lights at the Super Dome in New Orleans, causing a game delay after the Half Time show. While the NFL will not comment on the cause of the surge, they estimate the delay with last about 15 minutes.

Just to add some tech news to the post, it has been stated that in preparation for the Super Bowl, the NFL added Wifi capacity for around 30,000 independant connections. This would make the Super Dome possibly the largest Wifi Hotspot in the world!

Smartphones for Better Health Care?

Dr. Eric Topol, a pioneer in the emerging field of "Wireless Medicine", has said that iPhones and other smartphones may be the key to better individual health care in the future. Wireless monitors on patients, and linked to apps in there smartphones can monitor vital signs and even detect heartattacks. Dr. Topol says, "The smartphone will be the hub of the future of medicine."

sources: Apple Hot News, NBC News

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Twitter hacked! Up to 250,000 accounts may be affected

Yesterday Twitter sent out emails to many users warning that they will have to reset there passwords. A cyber attack earlier in the day may have compromised as many as a quarter million user accounts. The affected accounts don't seem to have anything in common (like political affiliations or social agenda) except that they all seem to be older accounts (mostly dating back to 2006 and 2007). Twitter is reminding all users to practice what they call  "good password hygiene", meaning unique password of at least 10 characters with a mix of lower and uppercase letter and numbers. Keep an eye on this, as it is believed that the same person/persons are responsible for other attacks on online services.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

iPhone users pay more for Wireless

It appears that iPhone user's don't just pay a premium for their phones, they may be paying top dollar for there phone and data plans too. A new study shows that 59% of iPhone user pay over $100 a month for celular coverage and data. Conversely, it appears that 53% of Android user spend that much and Windows Phone and Blackberry users pay even less.

The best theory to explain the cost difference is that the iPhone cost more then all but the highest priced Android phones and that carriers raise the price of their data plans to recover the cost of subsidizing the expensive devices. To get more on the story, Click Here...

Monday, January 28, 2013

Looks like Lenovo had the right idea after all...

Another slow day in Tech news. During these dry spells some people like to look back on Gadget days gone by. Cnet is, apparently having one of those days. But they appear to have dug up an interesting tidbit. It appears that Lenovo saw the tablet craze coming even before the anoucement of the iPad! Even more amazing is that they also saw the convertable Laptop/Tablet hybrid coming. The Lenovo U1 was ahead of it's time, shame it never made it to the hands of consumers...

Read the full article HERE...

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Library of Congress says you don't have the Right to Unlock your Phone

Bad news for consumers who want to unlock there mobile phones so they can be used on other networks. As of Saturday, January 26 2013, it's is now illegal to unlock an exclusive (carrier specific) phone and use it on another network. The decision came from the US Library of Congress's Copyright Office, which is responsible for reviewing and overseeing the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, back in October of last year. The Copyright Office gave people a 90 day grace period to unlock there phone before it officially became law. That grace period expired yesterday...

The new restrictions against unlocking phones do not extend to Jailbreaking phones, such as the iPhone, to allow them to run applications not supported in the App Store.

The LOC decision was based on evidence that consumer do have alternatives (such as purchasing an unlocked phone from Amazon), and what they considered a failure by opposition to prove that this will adversely affect consumers or the phone market.

Many feel that this new ruling will however limit consumer choice and hurt resale value for individuals looking to sell their old phones.  Entreprenuer Sina Khanifar has started a petition to the White House, asking the LOC to reverse it's decision and support a bill to legalize unlocking phones.

Read my Editorial Article on Digital Rights Here...Articles Section

Thursday, January 24, 2013

While We're At It...

In hardware news this week, at long last, the Microsoft Surface Pro will hit stores on Febuary 9th. Some 7 months after it was announced. Still not sure what the difference is between the new Pro model and the RT model that has been out for months? The biggest difference for consumers is that the Surface Pro will run Windows 8 Pro, which allows you to run full regular and legacy Windows programs, were as Windows RT runs only programs made specifically for it. Prices will range from $899 for the 64Gb version and $999 for the 128Gb model. (Btw, these prices do not include the nifty Typecover that's been in all the commercials. Add another $130 for that or save some cash and use your own keyboard)

Seagate's Wireless Plus 1Tb wireless storage drive could the answer to your mobile media library prayers. With a terrabyte of storage, 10 hours or more of battery life, and the ability to connect to up 8 wireless clients (seperate wireless devices) you can take a huge library of images, documents and video with you almost anywhere. For a detailed review check out Cnet HERE

And while you're there. Check out this cool article on ways to hack your Netflix account. There are some interesting tricks to get the most out of your Netflix membership, but the easiest and maybe most useful is this website. lists what's new and interesting on Netflix more quickly and simply then Netflix own site, and even tells you what videos are about to expire so you can't check them out before they're gone! Read the rest of the story at CNet  

All the News thats Fit to... Ehhh.

Okay, so it's a slow tech news week so far. CES is over and we're nearly a month from the next big technology showcase. But this is good time to go over some old news that may still be relavent...

During the playoff game this past weekend (GO RAVENS!) I noticed an ad for the Samsung made Google Chromebook. Don't know if it was new ad, but it was the first time I'd seen it. The ad reminded me of a incident shortly before Christmas when someone asked me what exactly a Chromebook was, and to be honest, I didn't really know.

A Chromebook looks like a standard laptop, but instead of running Windows or Mac OS, it runs Google's Chrome OS. What makes this different is that Chrome OS is designed to be largely web based. While it does store data in interal memory and it is based on a Linux kernal, like Android, Chrome stores application and user data on the internet. This has two main advantages, the first being amazingly fast boot up time. Turning on a Chromebook is reported to take only 7 seconds or less, compared to 30 seconds to several minutes with other operating systems. I can see quick boot ups as a major selling point with many potential buyers. The second big avantage is that by using system on a chip technology and web based applications, the Chromebook itself will be cheaper and mechanically simpler then a traditional laptop, while the applications will automatically update more quickly and easily then other system based apps.

So what's the catch? Well, with many of it's applications and saved data saved on a server in the Cloud somewhere, many functions are likely to have limited functions or not work at all when not connected to a network. To combat this obvious shortcoming, at least two of the three models already out from Acer and Samsung have built in 3G wireless. Google has made plans with Verizon so that Chromebook buyers who opt for the 3G models will receive 100Mb of free data a month for the first year of ownership, with additional data available for an additional fee. Not sure yet how I feel about so much of my data and applications sitting on someone else's server, but if 90% of what you do on a computer involves the web anyway, a Chromebook could be an economical solution to your computing needs.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

More News and an Update...YAY

Okay, so I just posted my first article on the new site. It's about buying your first tablet. Hopefully, Tablet shoppers out there might find it helpful. If I didn't answer your questions, then at least I may have found a new name for the problem. LOL. So please check it out!

As soon as I finish posting the article, which has a section covering budget model Tablets,  I come across news that Archos will be releasing a new 8 inch model and they're aiming for a $169 price tag. The new tablet will be dubbed the Archos series 80 Titanium. while it's most likely an update of the Archos 80 Cobalt it does have a features list that should get some attention. Check it out, a Dual core 1.6 Ghz processor, Front and Rear cameras (lower resolution cameras mind you but hey, my last Archos didn't have a camera at all), Quad core graphics chip, and 1,024x768 screen that's on par with the iPad Mini for less then half the price! This should be one to watch folks. I have a 2 year old Archos 5 internet tablet and even though it may not be state of the art anymore, it still runs pretty good. LOL

And while I'm on the subject of Archos and since my last post (sorry it took so long) was about mobile gaming I just happened on this little beauty on Archo's site. They call it the GamePad and what it is is simple but brilliant! A 7 inch tablet with a heavy duty graphics processor and physical control buttons (plus two analog control sticks) made just for gaming, but it still has full tablet functionality! Plus Archos has built in software to map the controls to older existing games that were never intended to use physical controls, now that's awesome. No word on price yet but if it's around $200 to $250, they may have a sleeper hit! For more info on the GamePad and other Archos Tablets and products click here

Monday, January 14, 2013

And The Name Of The Game Is... Um, Gaming. Actually.

One of the biggest suprises at CES this year was the anouncement of new gaming hardware. NVidia, the famous graphic card manufacturer anounced it's up coming Project: Shield! This will be Nvidia's first game console offering and a radical departure from the usual game console. Shield (who's name may change before release) will run Android, making it not only capable of non-gaming tasks like web browsing, but fully compatable with Google Play and hundreds of Android based game titles already on the market. The self contained unit will feature an HDMI output and have the ability to stream some Windows PC based games from PCs equiped with NVidia's newest chipset! This one could be a game-changer (no pun intended) or a major flop, but I'll be keeping my eye on it because either way it should be interesting!

Another interesting entry will be the Razer Edge, a high-end Windows 8 tablet built specially with gamers in mind. This one is estimated to set you back $900 to $1400 depending on Processor options and packaged accesories.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

News- Or something like it!

Trying to Live a Jettson's Lifestyle On a Flintstone's Budget...

 Hello, and welcome to Mobile and Broke! You may be wondering what his blog is about or why you should bother reading it. Well, like many of you, I am a fan of technology. I've wondered the stores staring at the latest and greatest modern technology has to offer... Which usually ends with the thought, "Thats really cool, but I can't afford that". I've put out money for magazines and read articles and reviews, and done my homework before I throw down more of my cash on a new gadget. And I have amassed a small collection of gizmos and gadgets, tablets and smartphones, to make my life easier. So i thought I'd share what I'd learned (and am still learning) because there really are alot of products and apps out there and it really can be confusing...

So, thats the point of this blog. Not just to show you whats new ('Cause the major magazines and TV shows will always beat me to that), but to help you make up your own mind about what's worth spending your hard earned cash on...

CES, Of Coarse...

So, of coarse, the big tech story this week has to be the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. If you are a geek like me, you know that each year the electronics industry's best and brightest show up for CES to show off their up coming products. The newest Smartphones, Tablets, and Desktops plus accessories, peripherals, and prototypes on display here will keep nerds and consumer correspondants busy for months. So far, from what I gather, there are a handful of stand out products, and a whole lot of the same old same old.

Cornings New 'Willow Glass' May Be The Future Of Displays, But don't Hold Your Breath...
Dow-Corning, makers of the Gorilla Glass (the highly durable scratch and shatter resistant chemically altered glass that covers many higher end smartphones and tablets) anounced their new Gorilla Glass 3 a week before CES, but the big story at Corning's booth this year was unboubtedly a new product called Willow Glass.

Willow Glass is an ultra thin (100 microns, or about 1 human hair thick) piece of glass that has been chemically fiddeled with so that it's actually flexable (see above photo). Amazing, but it does have it's flaws. It's not as flexable as, oh lets say, plastic wrap or cellophane. It does have a breaking point. So all of the demo pieces seen at CES have had a plastic cover on them, just in case the attendees get too rowdy with it. Corning admits that, while justifiably proud of this accomplishment, it's not quite ready for your new smartphone as they are still trying to make 'Willow' a bit more of a 'Gorilla'.

Not to be out done, Samsung turned up with prototype devices, sporting their own flexible glass display technology called Youm (see below). This technology allows displays to be curved or bent around the edges of a device to allow information like Text messages or RSS feeds to be shown on the edges of the display. Pretty cool, actually. Samsung says samples are being sent to manufacturers and there may be devices in the hands of customer by 2014.