If you’re an avid tech nut,and it’s pretty likely you are one if you’re reading this, you probably already have your favorites among tech websites and blogs, which offer daily tech news, gadget reviews and basically anything a tech-head might find interesting. It doesn’t matter if you’re an enthusiast or a professional, there is something for everyone. This is our attempt at compiling a list of our favorite tech sites, based on our preferences and expectations. While being far from definitive, it represents a good overview of what’s out there. Have a look at our pick of essential tech sites. (more…)
2014 is shaping up to be one of the most interesting years in a long time for awesome hardware. For those of you eager to update the computing power of your man cave, we’ll skip the pleasantries and get straight to the point. Fasten your seatbelt and get that credit card ready! (more…)
Viruses for cell phones are very similar to ones for PC. Many viruses are made to attack weaknesses in particular operating systems. Most viruses are hidden in email attachments, but some can be sent through a Bluetooth connection. Bluetooth devices can connect to any other Bluetooth device if it is within range. Of course, visiting websites that are not reputable can also lead to viruses being downloaded onto your phone. (more…)
Tethering is something that many smartphones and devices can do. You can turn your device into its own Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing you to use Wi-Fi anywhere. Does the coffee shop you’re at have no Wi-Fi? Just tether. Is the Internet at your home acting up? Tether! Besides that, it can be faster than some of the sluggish free Wi-Fi spaces around. It’s easy to do, especially if you’re an Android user. The only downside is that it eats up your data and can drain your battery, but if you have unlimited data and a place to charge your phone, you’re all set.
Breaking Down Tethering
The word ‘tethering’ means that you can connect your phone either with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or a USB to your computer and use your Internet connection from your phone to give your computer a connection. Before the iPhone, you had to call a number to give Internet access, unless you owned a Windows Mobile device, which was the predecessor to the Windows Phone. After the iPhone’s release, cell phone companies charged for tethering, but nowadays it’s usually free. Check your provider for details.
How to Tether on an Android Device
With an Android device, you have three choices if you want to connect. You can use Bluetooth, make your phone a hotspot, or just use wires to connect it with USB. Before you connect, make sure your device has mobile Internet turned on. The strength of your signal will affect speed, which may drain your battery, since your phone will put effort into downloading data compared with a full signal.
Tethering with USB
Make sure to use the USB cable that came with your phone, if you have one. Put the wide end inside your PC and the smaller one in the charging port. On your Android, go to Settings> Wireless & Networks> More> Tethering & Portable Hotspot. Check the USB tethering choice. You should get a notification area symbol, indicating that your phone is tethered.
This option gives you the speed of 6.97 MBPS download, 2.02 MPBS upload, and has a ping average of 66 MS. For your battery, it depends if your laptop is plugged in. If it is, you shouldn’t have to worry about your battery going down. If it is, both devices may discharge faster than normal, so beware.
Tethering With Bluetooth
To make this work, you should pair the device to your computer. Go to Settings>Wireless & Networks>More>Tethering & Portable Hotspot>Bluetooth Tethering. Meanwhile, on your computer, go to Control Panel>Hardware and Sound>Devices and Printers. Then, right click your phone’s icon and click Connect Using>Access Point.
When that happens, your phone should notify you that you’re now tethering with Bluetooth. This has a speed of .35 MBPS download, .78 MBPS upload, and has an average ping of 289 MS. Battery-wise, this drains your battery quite a bit, so keep it on the charger if possible.
Tethering Using a Wi-Fi Hotspot.
This nifty option uses your mobile’s Internet and Wi-Fi connection together. Go to Settings>Wireless & Networks>More>Tethering &Portable>Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot. Sometimes, the last will read as Portable WLAN Hotspot. On your computer, make sure its wireless capabilities are on and look for your device, which should be listed as Android AP. Enter the password as it appears on your phone and you should be set.Speed-wise, it’s 16.01 MBPS download, 4.45 MBPS upload, and has an average ping of 55 MS. Like Bluetooth, it does put a dent in your battery life.
Overall, Wi-Fi is the best option if you want fast speed, and USB connection benefits from better battery life. If you tether, consider your options, and go with the one that benefits your devices the most. It’s a great way to stay connected at all times, even when conditions usually don’t allow it.
Why Jailbreak an iPhone?
Some software is not authorized in certain operating systems. In order to install an application you want, but is not allowable by your OS, you will need to jailbreak your device. In simple terms, Jailbreaking is the process of bypassing the restrictions inherent in the OS, allowing you to install any software compatible with your device. It also gives you access to the phone on the root level. This access is otherwise hidden or unreachable by users. So, by Jailbreaking, you will be able to manipulate most, if not all aspects of your phone or other device.
iOS from Apple, in particular, is a very closed system to any changes by the user. You must adhere by their strict guidelines. Some of Apple’s restrictions are there to protect the user, but others exist to keep users from being able to use unofficial apps and customize their device. Jailbreaking is limited to Apple devices; it cannot be done with Android devices. Of course, risks come with Jailbreaking. Your device becomes open to attacks and malware that would have been protected by iOS. There have been complaints of other types of instability including increased data usage and decreased battery life. You have to assess the cost-benefit depending on your needs.
The Cydia App
Once your phone is Jailbroken, you will have access to a variety of unofficial apps. Many of these can be found using Cydia. Cydia is the alternative app store to Apple’s App Store for Jailbroken iPhones, iPads, and iTouches. Created by Jay Freeman, aka “saurik”. Cydia gives users a platform to download apps to fully customize devices. You will see the Cydia app icon clearly on your device’s home screen after Jailbreaking.
Some of the apps available in Cydia allow users to do some basic things iOS restricts. These include being able to sync over WiFi, creating your own ringtones, creating custom themes, bypassing the restriction on allowing your iPhone or Pad to video out in order to connect to TV, and downloading files directly to your device.
Even though Cydia is obviously not endorsed by Apple, it is a very dynamic application. New and innovative, and often free, apps are available for download at any time. Prominent tech magazines and websites offer useful advice on the best Cydia apps and informative articles for your Jailbroken device.
Hiding Cydia – Why?
Hiding Cydia is ideal for people who want to keep the fact that their phone is Jailbroken unknown. The Cydia app can only be downloaded if the phone is Jailbroken, so the app icon being visible makes that fact obvious. People using spy or monitoring software apps will obviously want to hide the Cydia app. You should have a look at ReflexSoftware here for detailed information about cell phone monitoring apps such as StealthGenie and Mobile Spy – you’ll see why hiding the Cydia app is important to many parents. It’s fairly easy to hide the app without uninstalling it. Only you will know it’s there, and you will have access to it when you need it.
How to Hide Cydia on Your iPhone
First, you need to open Cydia and download an app called “SBSettings.” This app allows you to hide icons from any of your apps, among other functions. SBSettings is not the only app that allows you to do this. Use Cydia to shop around for other applications – such as Poof.
Install the app and open immediately. Press “settings” followed by “more”. Then, click “hide icons”. All of your apps should be listed with a slider next to them saying “on” or “off.” Find Cydia, and slide to the “off” position. You can use this opportunity to hide any other apps including the SBSettings App icon. You can now exit the app.
Your Cydia app should now be hidden from your home screen, and the app will still be installed.
It’s really as easy as that, but hiding your Jailbreak trail completely can be more involved. Cydia offers a few tweaks to trick other applications into thinking your phone is not Jailbroken. Some easy research and advice on some of the Cydia forums can help you find ways to do this. As always, use some discretion when making any modifications to your Jailbroken phone. Without the safety of the original iOS, your device and personal information is susceptible. Listen to more experienced users, and make sure any changes you make are tried and true. If you take these precautions, you can enjoy your new apps without worrying about anything malicious being installed on your device.
People are obsessed with photos. Proof? Just consider the fact that every cell phone has a camera, with some models crossing the 40 megapixel mark, and the popularity of Instagram. This should be a great thing: all this amazing imaging technology becoming cheaper and more accessible, allowing for all that talent and creativity to materialize. In theory, yes. In reality, all we get is a bunch of people taking selfies.
Luckily, there are still people which know that it’s not enough to take a snapshot and upload it directly from your camera. It’s just that: a snapshot. A photograph is something more, and crafting a good photo takes some effort on your part. We’re not going to get into photography principals at this time. We are going to assume that you already know all you need to know about them and the only thing you need is the right set of software tools to achieve your goal. The obvious choice would be Adobe Photoshop, but you may not have the cash, or you are too intimidated by all the options it has to offer. However, let’s consider some of the free alternatives and see what’s what.
Available for Windows, Mac and Linux, GNU Image Manipulation Program, or GIMP for short, is a free, open-source image editor, offering Photoshop functionality at zero cost. How does it fair against Photoshop? Pretty good actually, with all of the standard tools, such as brushes, layers, effect and so on. The thing is, the list of features is so extensive, that it might steer away some of the novice users from the editor. On the other hand, more experienced users will love it. And for those who still prefer Photoshop, but want to save money, there is Gimpshop, which is essentially GIMP with interface similar to that of Photoshop.
If you don’t need everything that GIMP or Photoshop have to offer, but still you want something that allows for a bit more than basic image editing, then Paint.NET may be just the thing.Its interface resembles Photoshop, and you have your floating toolbars, color palettes, layers, image history and a menu bar on top, which has your usual options. Apart from every conceivable tool, there is also a bunch of eye-popping effects you can apply to your image. Paint.NET is a Windows only editor.
PicMonkey is a Web-based image editor that runs on any browser that supports flash. The greatest thing about PicMonkey is its simplicity and ease of editing a photo. Your will have tons of fun editing your pics, as PicMonkey offers themed extras with tools that can make you appear like a zombie or a vampire in the photo, which is something you can play with, especially on Halloween. Basic editing, such as cropping, rotating, resizing or sharpening is still there, and you don’t need to log in to access that. Although PicMonkey is free, it does make money through ads, so if you want an ad-free version, you need to upgrade for a small fee, for which you will get some additional effects and features.
Just a quick selection of the best alternatives – other brands are available!
Being a hardcore Windows user and a bit stubborn when it comes to accepting changes, I’ve never really caught up with the whole Android craze, so the prospect of having a great Windows phone, with outstanding built quality and fantastic camera sounds really tempting. Enter the Nokia Lumia 720.
To be honest, I’m a bit biased when it comes to Nokia. I still own (and use) the legendary Nokia 3310, which was a massive success and without a doubt one of the best cell phones ever. That fact has very little to do with their current cell phones, but, like I said, I’m biased.
So,let’s deal with the superficial stuff first. The sleek design of the Lumia 720’s polycarbonate unibody casing (I
would have never thought a yellow phone could look this awesome) catches your eye right from the start. On the side, there are several buttons, such as the volume rocker button, power/sleep and camera shutter buttons, and on the top, there is a 3.5mm headphone jack. The body is 9mm thick, which makes it an easy fit for every pocket. As is always the case with Nokia, the build quality is superb and the device feels extremely sturdy and compact.
The bridge between the exterior and the interior come in the shape of a true gem: the 4.3-inch IPS touchscreen, protected by Corning Gorilla Glass, which is scratch-resistant. The resolution of the screen in 800×400 pixels, which is not exactly HD, but the overall impression is amazing. The image is sharp and clear, and the colors are vibrant. As far as sensitivity of the display is concerned, the fact that you can use Lumia 720 even if you’re wearing gloves should be enough for you to get an idea about how good it is. If not, we’ll just say that the same feature is usually found on top of the line models, such as Samsung Galaxy S4.
Next up is the performance. The Lumia 720 is powered by a dual-core 1GHz processor, along with 521MB of RAM, placing it firmly in the mid-range part of the market. Although some will be quick to point out that a lot of Android devices are more powerful, Windows built into the Lumia 720 has optimized architecture, therefore the device will be able to run any application with very little effort. You can even play some HD games to a certain extent, as you won’t feel the performance becoming too sluggish.
Granted, the Windows Market is not as densely populated as Google Play or Apple App Store, but you will still have access to essentials like Facebook, Twitter, What’s app and many others. 140,000 applications may not sound like much when compared to millions which are designed for Android, but Windows equivalents of those apps are guaranteed to appear, you just have to wait longer. Not an ideal situation, but it’s something you need to learn to live with.
Don’t worry, I didn’t forget the most important part. The camera! Based solely on its photographic abilities, Nokia Lumia 720 wipes the floor with its competitors and then some. The images are sharp and clear, with rich and accurate colors. You can also record 720p HD video at 30 fps, which is pretty great.
Optimized battery consumption allows for an entire day-and-a-half of use before you need recharge. The Lumia 720 also has 8GB of storage, Wi-Fi, NFC, GPS, Bluetooth 3.0 and comes with 7GB of space on Skydrive for free.
You still need a reason to go out and buy the Nokia Lumia 720?