Monthly Archives: July 2010

  • A Cautionary Note For Mobile App Users

    July 30, 2010 - Leave a Comment

    With the increasing demand for instant information, cell phone apps have become the instant answer providers.  Cell phone apps have even started invade schools.  I attended a seminar at my school, Kennesaw State University, on the 10 must have apps to graduate.  So now, not only can apps be used for games and social reasons, but they are also used as helpful tools for students at all levels of education.  All of this made me wonder….how safe is it to download all these apps?  Well, I came across this article in PC World which address some of my concerns.

    Android App Data Theft: Advantage Apple?

    Mobile security firm Lookout embarrassed Android by revealing that a popular wallpaper app was sending sensitive user data to a mysterious Website in China.

    The discovery, on its face, looks like an argument for Apple's restrictive phone App Store. Certainly, the store's approval process has an extra layer of security that the Android Market does not, even if it means that some desirable apps aren't allowed because Apple says so. Still, the advantage for Apple is not so clear-cut.

    First, a little background: The Android wallpaper app comes from Jackeey Wallpaper, includes popular brands such as My Little Pony and Star Wars, and was downloaded between 1.1 million and 4.6 million times, VentureBeat reports. Jackeey Wallpaper apps collected browsing history, text messages, SIM card numbers, subscriber identification, and voicemail passwords, and sent the data to www.imnet.us, a domain registered in Shenzhen, China.

    Your browser may not support display of this image. Ostensibly, an iPhone App Store reviewer would see this kind of activity in an app and disapprove, but it doesn't always work that way. Last December, Nicholas Seriot, a Swiss iPhone developer, described a proof-of-concept app that could mine contact information, GPS locations, web searches and everything you type except for passwords. Apple would normally reject an app like that, but a malicious developer could try fooling reviewers with changes at runtime, or other delayed trickery.

    Android has a different way of protecting users. When you download an Android app, it tells you what kinds of information will be accessed, so if a video game announces it will read your text messages, users can see that and determine something shady is going on. Apple, by comparison, guards the apps themselves more closely, but doesn't tell users what kind of data is accessed.

    But Android's system isn't perfect either, as shown by Lookout. Jackeey Wallpaper apps, when downloaded, only say they're collecting "phone info," which doesn't really mean anything.

    Your browser may not support display of this image. Both the iPhone and Android also face issues with third-party software, Lookout explained. Third-party code is generally used for advertising or analytics, but can access data in ways that users or even developers who implement the code don't know about. Apple recently banned the collection of iPhone data by third-parties for analytics or advertising, but that was intended more to stop groups like Flurry from spilling the beans on new Apple products.

    Lookout did commend both Android and the iPhone for keeping blatant malware out of their stores. Their message in the end was a word of caution to developers and users about the software they use. So I don't think there's a huge cause for alarm, nor do I think Apple's app security approach is indisputably safer than Android's, or vice versa.

  • Chicago Tribune: Landlines vs. cell phones

    July 28, 2010 - Leave a Comment

    With the addition of a zBoost cell phone signal booster, it is definitely time to cut the cord on your home phone.  Here is an excerpt from an article by Wendy Donohue of the Chicago Tribune discussing the pluses or minuses of keeping or dropping your landline. 

    Is it time to cut the cord?

    Landlines vs. cell phones savings: How to make the call

    By Wendy Donahue Chicago Tribune

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/sc-cons-0722-save-landline-vs-cell-20100722,0,4094247.story 

    Reception complaints with the new iPhone 4, and occasionally every mobile phone on earth, have made the decision to ax one's landline less clear-cut than many thought it would be by this stage of the cell game. 
     
    But as consumers continue to cut costs, more are cutting the cord. One in four homes in the U.S. relied on
    cell phones alone during the last half of 2009, an increase of 1.8 percentage points since the first half of 2009, according to a survey by the National Center for Health Statistics. 
     
    One in every seven homes had a landline yet received all or almost all calls on cell phones.

    "I argue with my wife often about why we still have a landline," said Mitch Hiller, director of technology for Consumers' Checkbook. "She wants one. She isn't clear on the reasons for that, but for the sake of domestic tranquility, I give in." 
     
    Several variables, logical and psychological, complicate making the call. 
     
    "Part of the answer about what is the right answer is the comfort level of the person with technology," Hiller said. "The answer for me is very different than for my mother, who is phobic of technology. If she tries to implement the same solution, she's going to be frustrated and unhappy." 
     
    Here are some arguments for and against the landline. You make the call. 

    5 reasons to keep your landline

    Multiple users: Having a landline means relatives and family friends can reach all members of your household (in theory) by dialing one number and/or leaving one message. (That's assuming voice mail in your household gets checked more than once every two months.) 
     
    Multiple phones: It also means you can have several phones within your house, rather than conjoining yourself to your cell phone in order to hear incoming calls. 
     
    Reception: Landline phones don't require you to plaster yourself against the bay window to hear and be heard. Although a landline-based cordless phone sometimes has spotty reception if you're far from the phone's base, points out Robert Krughoff, president of Consumers' Checkbook. 
     
    Power: Relying solely on a cell phone demands diligence in keeping it charged. A landline will work in power outages if you have a phone that doesn't require AC power. If your landline phone does require AC power, you can buy a four- to six-hour battery backup from your service provider for around $45. Verizon fiber phone service will provide you with one for free. 
     
    The biggie — 911: Consumer Reports still recommends having landline service, because emergency services can more reliably locate you quickly from a 911 call on a landline than from a cell phone. Based on advancements, Consumer Reports said it is reviewing that advice and may revise it later in the year after a survey of consumers' 911 experiences. 
     

    5 reasons to DITCH your landline 
     
    Reception boosters: Companies such as Wi-Ex offer signal-enhancing devices that spare you from performing contortionist movements to get reception within the bowels of your abode. They can be pricey, around $200 to $300

     
    Technological advancements: Many apartment-building security systems and home-alarm monitors used to require landlines. Nowadays, many can operate through your cell phone. 
     
    Power outages: In a power outage, a charged cell phone still works, and it will continue to work even as you wait for hours or days for the electricity to be restored to the premises that houses the landline. 
     
    Telemarketing: In most cases, federal laws prohibit telemarketers from calling wireless phones, which reduces the likelihood of a buzz kill during a romantic dinner in. 
     
    The biggie — savings: Landline service might run $20 to $50. Presuming you have a cell phone, you might need to add minutes to your calling plan if you drop your landline, but falling rates for unlimited minutes on cell phones are making those contracts better bargains.

  • The Droid Guy tests out the new zBoost Metro!

    July 26, 2010 - Leave a Comment

    The Droid Guy was the first to review the zBoost Metro! Check out what he has to say:

    Bad Signal? Femtocell Not working out try Zboost

    Let's face it death grip or no death grip some of us just happen to live in areas where cell signal is bad. At my home I get a very good voice signal with Sprint however I live relatively close to a power grid, 500 yards from Camden Yards, next to a light rail station etc etc etc. It makes cell phone service kind of spotty at times. I've tried everything from those dumb stickers you put on the back of your phone to femtocell to other solutions and while femtocell works I've found something that is a one-time payment device.

    Check Out Zboost and the Zboost Metro
    I originally saw Zboost at the Pepcom show in New York last month and have been dying to try it however my travel schedule has been out of this world and I needed a moment to set this thing up and try it out.

    At first glance the box was intimidating, in fact thats why I didn't set it up until last week. There is a window mount, base station, antenna and about 20 feet of coaxial cable in the box. As a tech person I thought to myself man I've got to actually install this thing? However after glancing at the instructions and realizing it's really only 5 pieces (Window Mount Antenna, Power Cord, Coaxial Cord, Device, Device Antenna) it was a piece of cake. It took about a minute to find a spot and 2 minutes to put everything together.

    Realy in short the Zboost is a nicely packaged signal amplifier for cellular radio networks. It seems to be doing wonders for my AT&T, and Verizon phones I am waiting to check out T-mobile because there is a rumor that they lit up HSPA+ in my neighborhood that Im not sure would be compatible.

    AT&T and Verizon are definitely showing improved strength in my home. But more on results in one weeks time.

    The unit iself is not obtrusive at all it looks no bigger than a router or cable modem. The Window antenna, could probably use some design work but if you're in an urban dwelling and have ditched MaBell you may want to sacrifice asthetic beauty for sheer performance.

    Here are some other Key Benefits for the Zboost Metro:
    - Perfect for Single Story units (although Im using it in 2 with good results) no vertical separation neeed
    - Increases signal strength up to 1500 sqiare feet
    - Decreases dropped or missed calls
    - No Cradle or connections to your phone
    - Extends Batttery life,
    - Works with all US Carriers
    - Delivers voice and data

    In One week I'm going to report back on the Zboost Metro with pics and results on how it improved service on all four carriers in my house. I also have the ZBoost Zpocket which is a similar system designed for travelers. I'm going to use it in the next two weeks in Texas, New York and California.

    Stay Tuned
    for more information visit Wi-Ex directly for Zboost

     
     Visit The Droid Guy's blog to read more of his reviews!
  • zPocket Saves the Day for Wi-Ex Intern!

    July 23, 2010 - Leave a Comment

     In addition to taking classes this summer at my university, I decided to start expanding my business resume by applying for internships in marketing.   I figured I wasn’t  busy enough this summer and should add more to my plate.=)  The opportunity I have with my internship at Wi-Ex has really begun to show me the ropes of what is needed for good marketing plan.  Being a young professional, who is glued to my Smartphone for work and social purposes, I found it very cool that the product they manufacturer is a cell phone signal booster, to help improve voice and data transmission.

    As some of you may know, being an intern means there are a lot of different people to report to which means a lot of work on a lot of different projects.  I have become increasingly reliant on my cell phone this summer to stay in touch with work.  There’s always a last minute errand that I need to run, a deadline that snuck up on someone and they need help, or just your average intern tasks.  I’m lucky that I live in Atlanta which has great cell phone coverage so I can take all these calls!  However, this past weekend I was able to get a little time off, so I decided it would be a good time to go to the beach.  I headed down to the beach promising to work be available if there was an emergency.  If there was ever a time to be completely reliant on my cell phone it was this week. 

    I arrived at the beach, checked into the condo, and headed down to the pool drink in hand.  I was ready to begin rest and relaxation.  Then it happened…..my cell rang, it was the office and it was an emergency.  Our team was heading out next week and they needed research done on how our wireless signal booster can be marketed to the other company’s sales team.  As I walked into the condo I lost the call!!  As I looked at my phone I had no signal.  Luckily I was prepared because I had brought my zPocket with me.  I unpacked it from my bag, attached the base to the window, put my phone in the holder and I had signal again!!  I grabbed my Bluetooth and called back into the office to get the rest of my task.  I was able to complete and turn in my research never loosing connection to the office again.  Thank goodness for my Wi-Ex zPocket! Otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to complete my work and head back out to enjoy the rest of my vacation!!

  • Testimonial Tuesday

    July 20, 2010 - Leave a Comment

    This week's Testimonial comes from Rob Levy in Alpharetta, GA. He's in sales, and works from his home office which is located in his basement. Rob's home is at the "bottom of the bowl" where they have experienced exceptionally bad service, and has made the basement a complete dead zone. Recently, Rob has set up a YX510, to help remedy the situation.

    Why have you chosen to work with zBoost over the competitors?
     I did not consider any competitors or any alternative technology (Wi-Fi VoIP) to increase wireless signal strength.

    Why is having a zBoost important for you in your line of work?
    I work from home where the cell service is either sporadic or of such limited signal strength that I miss or have trouble making wireless calls. It's important for me to be able to stay in touch with clients are recieve calls reliably while at home.

    Do you have any funny or interesting stories related to working with zBoosts?
    We were just on vacation in Cape San Blas, FL and staying in a rental home with NO cell phone reception, except for in 1 bedroom where a zBoost unit was installed. Our entire family has to use Grandma and Grampa's bedroom, where the zBoost was located, to place their calls the entire time we were on vacation!

    Anything you would like to say about being a testimonial for Wi-Ex’s zBoost?
     I like the concept of boosting cell phone strength at home and have finally found a solution using the YX510 zBoost by Wi-Ex. We are using a window entry cable, so were able to place the antenna outside without running the cable inside the wall.

     Visit us at Wi-Ex.com and see how the zBoost can improve your cell phone signal in your home and home office!

  • Restaurant Week in Atlanta!

    July 19, 2010 - Leave a Comment

     

    Downtown Atlanta Restaurant Week
    $25 & $35 Dinners
    July 26 - August 8, 2010

    Enjoy special prix-fixe dinners at participating restaurants. See list below for participating restaurants. Prices are per person and do not include beverage, tax or gratuity. All reservations are through OpenTable.

    Dinners for $25

    • 30 Tables
    • Max Lager's Wood-Fired Grill & Brewery
    • No Mas! Cantina
    • Paschal's Restaurant
    • ROOM at Twelve
    • SEAR
    • Spoon
    • STATS
    • Terrace on Peachtree
    • Trader Vic's – Atlanta (Offered July 26- August  1 only)
    • Truva

    Dinners for $25 and $35

    • Thrive
    • Peasant Bistro

    Dinners for $35

    • Atlanta Grill
    • BLT Steak Atlanta
    • Il Mulino New York - Atlanta
    • Legal Sea Foods - Atlanta
    • Ray's in the City
    • Ruth's Chris Steak House - Centennial Park (Offered August 2 - 8 only)

    Click here to make your reservations now, or to just check out the great restaurants that are involved!

  • Inventor of cell phone: We knew someday everybody would have one

    July 16, 2010 - Leave a Comment

    (CNN) -- In 1973, Martin Cooper changed the world, although he didn't know it yet.

    Cooper and his team at Motorola, the communications company, created maybe the only thing that runs the lives of business professionals and teenagers alike -- the cell phone.

    It was the size of a brick and wasn't commercially sold for another decade. But as Cooper demonstrated on a New York sidewalk, it worked.

    The concept of cellular technology had already been created by Motorola's rival, AT&T, whose Bell Labs introduced a system allowing calls to be moved from one cell to another while remaining on the same channel. But AT&T was focusing this technology on the car phone.

    Cooper wanted people to have freedom to talk on the phone away from their cars. So in reaction, he and Motorola embarked on a project to create a more portable device.

    Motorola spent three months building a prototype for a portable, mobile handset that Cooper publicly demonstrated in April of 1973. The company's first commercial cellular phone, the "DynaTAC," went on sale 10 years later.

    Cooper, now 81, is founder of ArrayComm, a company working to improve cellular networks, smart antenna and wireless communication. He and his wife are also inventors of the Jitterbug, a simplified cell phone geared to senior citizens.

    To read more about the inventor of the cell phone, go to: CNN.com

    To learn how to boost your smartphone or cell phone and visit: Wi-Ex and check out our line of zBoost products!

  • Dating in a Digital World

    July 14, 2010 - Leave a Comment

    Gone are the days when a guy has to walk up to your door, knock, and wait for you to answer. Now an impersonal text is sent saying they are on their way and to be ready. Not everything is bad about technology in the dating world though, actually it can be pretty convenient.

    Yesterday was my first date with a guy I knew back in school. We went to the park to play some Frisbee, and of course I checked the weather forecast on my phone before we left. I didn’t want to end up a bedraggled mess if it was supposed to storm. When talk of dinner came around it was a simple thing to check my Urbanspoon App and find nearby Chinese food.

    There were laughs and good stories so I felt it was going pretty good and suggested a late night movie. Rather than drive around aimlessly looking for a theatre and movie playing, I checked movies times and theatres and found one not far. I even looked at movie reviews, definitely didn’t want to see “The Last Airbender”, only 8% rating on Rotten Tomatoes! During the movie we were saved from the frustrated feeling of trying to figure out what other movie we had seen a certain actress in. I love IMDB (International Movie Data Base) because doesn’t everyone just hate that feeling of it being on the tip of your tongue but not being able to remember it.

    Thanks to my smart phone for saving me from a first date awkward mess. Maybe technology isn’t so bad and can’t wait for date number 2!

  • Mommy I need to Go Online....

    July 12, 2010 - Leave a Comment

    These are the words I hear from my three year old when he needs to look for something - usually it is related to Thomas, Sesame Street or Wonder Pets and he needs GiGi, Nana, Ho Ho (Santa) or "that bunny" (the Easter Bunny) to buy it for him. It started last Christmas with him telling me "Mommy I need to online on your waptop (laptop) to look at some Thomas the trains." Did I mention that he is three??

    According to a recent Pew Research report , he is like many Americans who are now accessing the Internet on their laptop and mobile devices.   The study found that 6 in 10 Americans are going online wirelessly with their laptop or cell phone.  It is amazing how quickly kids today are learning the role of technology in our lives and how it can make everything accessible - from learning about Big Bird's Birthday to the words to Dinosaur Train's theme song.

    For those of you who have kids here are Carter's top five sites to visit online:

    1. www.seasamestreet.org - He is a big fan of the videos and playlists
    2. www.pbskids.org/curiousgeorge - The present time game is a favorite
    3. www.pbskids.org/dinosaurtrain - If you ever needed to know the names of dinosaurs that start with each letter of the alphabet you can find it here!
    4. www.thomasandfriends.com - Just all around fun!
    5. www.bobthebuilder.com - Another site with great videos!

     You can find the full report on Mobile Access 2010 at www.pewinternet.org.

  • Smart Phone on Vacation

    July 9, 2010 - Leave a Comment

    The smart phone is no longer just for work. With so many types of apps available and different uses for a smart phone then they are perfect for staying organized on trips. While traveling I’ve used my smart phone for checking my flight times, or even reserving the jetskis for us to ride later in the day. TripCase has helped me so much before because it keeps me organized with all the info or reservations everywhere and has the phone numbers in case I need to book a hotel for an extra date. Another favorite app is Packing Pro because it’ll remind me to take sun screen if I’m going to the beach or ski goggles if heading to the mountains and skiing.

    I know I shouldn’t work on vacation and should just take a break but using my smart phone, well at least when I have signal, isn’t work. Vacation should be less work and less hassle that’s why I depend on my smart phone when I go on vacation because it just makes everything easier.

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