Technology and Our Lives

  • Forrester Sees Tablet Sales Increasing

    December 26, 2012 - Leave a Comment

    USA Today recently highlighted a Forrester report showing the tablet is here to stay. The report shows the number of Americans with tablets will skyrocket within the next few years. The article states, "34 million owned a tablet last year, and jumps to 113 million by 2016."

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  • Smartphones A Top Shopping Method This Holiday Season

    November 28, 2012 - Leave a Comment

    Smartphones and tablets are taking a stake in the holiday season this year. eMarketer has reported according to research by Prosper Mobile Insights, 55.3% of all US tablet and smartphone users planned to shop with their devices this season. Check out technology's chunk of the pie in the image below. Are you planning on using your devices to check off holiday to-do items this year?

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  • zBoost Launches zBoost Mobile App

    October 15, 2012 - Leave a Comment

    New zBoost Apps Help Consumers and Installers Position Booster Antennas For Best Signal

    zBoost AppAtlanta - October 10, 2012 -  Wi-Ex, a leading provider of consumer and commercial cell phone signal booster kits, announced today the launch of its zBoost Mobile Apps including zBoost Signal Mapper for iPhone iOS 6 and zBoost Signal Finder for Android.   It’s available for free in the Google Play Store for Android phones and in the iTunes Store for iPhones with iOS 6.  Designed to help both professional installers and consumers, the zBoost Signal Finder for Android, allows users to locate the closest cell phone tower to their phone and utilize this information to help improve the cellular signal by installing a cell phone signal booster in the best location. Due to their handling of information, the iPhone running on iOS 6 app doesn’t show the closest tower, so zBoost Signal Mapper for iPhone iOS 6 maps the signal strength and finds the best place in the building to mount your antenna for the strongest signal. 

    The zBoost line includes cell phone signal booster kits for both professional installations of large spaces, as well as consumer friendly solutions for homes and small offices.   For installers the zBoost Signal Mapper for iPhone and zBoost Signal Finder for Android helps aim directional antennas to maximize the cell phone signal and for consumers it allows them to position their antenna in the best spot for the strongest signal.

    “With the rapid growth of smartphones and tablets, consumers and businesses rely on a strong cell phone signal to stay connected.  And for web use, the stronger the signal, the faster the data speeds,” said Sharon Cuppett, vice-president of marketing at Wi-Ex.  “We created the zBoost Mobile Apps to add value to all of our customers’ experience with our products.  The zBoost Mobile Apps provide both our installers and consumers an easy-to-use solution to help them maximize using our product and put an end to missed calls and slow data.”

    Once installed, the zBoost Signal Finder for Android phones locates which cellular tower is providing the cellular service at that time and then displays this tower on a map with the signal strength indicated.  If installing a zBoost cell phone signal booster, the user can simply run the app at the location where the zBoost is being installed. Once the locations of the towers are determined, the user clicks on the 'Direction' button to show the location of the strongest signal tower using a compass style indicator. In just a few minutes the exact location of where to install and aim the outside antenna can be determined.

    Since the zBoost Signal Mapper for the iPhone does not give the tower location, it requires that the user walk around the area or the entire structure to see where the strongest signal is displayed.  The app will show the signal strength as a colored dot on a map, and then as the user walks around there will be more dots placed on the map using a color associated with the signal strength (bright green for strongest signal, down to dark red for the weakest).  Simply walk around the outside of the building that will have the booster installed; the location(s) that shows the brightest green will be the ideal location for the outside antenna installation.  In just a few minutes the exact location of where to install and aim the outside antenna can be determined,  The map can be viewed in satellite mode showing the house or building or street mode.

    About Wi-Ex

    Wi-Ex (www.wi-ex.com), a leading provider of cell phone signal boosters, developed zBoost, the first consumer-priced signal booster that “extended cell zones” for the small office/home office cell phone market. Wi-Ex has expanded their “extending cell zone coverage” beyond consumers to corporate enterprises and large commercial applications. From M2M applications to large commercial complexes to the rising number of teleworkers, the zBoost line provides a business-centric solution for improving poor in-door cell phone coverage domestically and internationally. The zBoost product line works with most carriers in the US and abroad including AT&T, Sprint, Vodaphone, Verizon and T-Mobile. The award-winning zBoost home and office solutions help today's connected consumers including iPhone, iPad, Android (DROID), BlackBerry, and smartphone users with dropped calls and slow data. They were awarded a 2007 and 2010 Consumer Electronics Association Innovations Honoree by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and a 2011 EXC!TE honoree. They also were selected as a finalist for the 2007 and 2009 CTIA Emerging Technologies (E-Tech) Award. As the leader, zBoost has more awards, more sales and more locations than all their competitors combined. Wi-Ex continues to develop innovative products to meet the demands of an increasingly wireless society by enhancing wireless signals.

     

  • Unnecessary Cellphone Charges: Advice from the Better Business Bureau

    July 11, 2012 - Leave a Comment

    It's summertime and you know what that means?? VACATION!!!! Some of you will be traveling for vacation and some for business. In any case, have you thought about your cellphone coverage and or data plan? Make sure you add checking with your cellphone provider to your to-do list before you go, especially for international travel.

    Better Business Bureau Advice: Guard Against Added Cell Phone Charges When Vacationing

    · Turn off your phone.

    · Contact your cell phone provider.

    · Invest in a prepaid SIM card.

    · Check with your BBB. Travelers should always check with your BBB before choosing an international service provider at www.bbb.org

    Read entire article here

    Cell phone charges, cell phone signal booster

  • Paychex Infographic: Mobile Apps Are Revolutionizing America's Small Businesses

    June 26, 2012 - Leave a Comment

    Recently the company Paychex a provider of payroll, human resource, and benefits outsourcing solutions for small and medium-sized businesses released an infographic that takes a look at how businesses use mobile technology to increase efficiency and productivity within their businesses.

    New infographic examines how small businesses use mobile technology to save time and increase productivity

    "Small business owners and entrepreneurs are constantly facing new demands on their time and are increasingly turning to mobile technology to better manage it," said Paychex President and CEO Martin Mucci. "In fact, as our new infographic illustrates, 50 percent of small businesses who use mobile technology say they couldn’t survive without it."

    Paychex released the infographic as it celebrates the launch of its new Paychex Mobile smartphone application for iPhone(R), Android(TM), and BlackBerry(R).

    The new Paychex infographic is available for download and embedding at http://blog.buildmybiz.com/infographic-small-business-mobile-technology/

    cell phone booster will help run mobile apps faster on your mobile phone

    Information about the infographic click here

    For information on Paychex click here

  • Cell Phone User Statistics

    August 16, 2011 - Leave a Comment

    The Pew Research Center has released a new report titled Americans and Their Cell Phones.  With cell phone use and ownership continually rising, the survey finds a topic that applies to all of us.  Whether you are guilty of sending and receiving text, pictures, or video messages or just using your phone to avoid an awkward interaction with others, this report offers a statistic for all of these aspects of cell phone use.  A few of the stats really caught my eye as a smart phone user.

    • 42% of cell owners used their phone for entertainment when they were bored.  I am guilty of using my smart phone as entertainment while I’m waiting in line, listening to a particularly boring lecture, or when there is nothing on TV.
    •  20% of cell owners experienced frustration because their phone was taking too long to download something.
    • 51% of adult cell owners have used their phone at least one time to get information they needed immediately.   Let us not forget about those heated family or friend debates!  You need facts to help prove your side of the argument, or even just to squash that family quarrel between your mother and brother.

    I do not have to worry about the frustration of cell phone ownership because of my zBoost cell phone signal booster.  My zBoost has helped me in every one of these scenarios from boredom to frustration!  Not only does it relieve me from upload and download delays, but I never have to worry about not receiving or dropping important calls.

    To read Americans and Their Cell Phones in its entirety for all cell phone stats click here.

  • INFOGRAPHIC: Goodbye Wallets! How Mobile Payments Are Becoming the New Credit Card

    July 20, 2011 - Leave a Comment

    Money has evolved several times in human history: barter, coins, paper, plastic, and now, phones? It's true --- commerce is the next major advancement in mobile technology. Through the use of 'near field communications' (NFC) chips, several companies are about to revolutionize the way we shop, replacing our wallets with our smartphones.

    https://www.gplus.com/Mobile-Payments/Article/INFOGRAPHIC-Goodbye-Wallets-How-Mobile-Payments

  • PC World Shows You How to Work Outdoors

    July 12, 2011 - Leave a Comment

    While the Georgia heat has us all indoors, some of you may be looking for ways to take your work outside.

    PC World gives you some good tips on making the most of workout outdoors including boosting your signal with zBoost.

    How to Work Outdoors

    By Christopher NullPCWorld

    How to Work OutdoorsLaptops, tablets, and smartphones are supposed to make us mobile: Freed of cumbersome desktop technology, we can work anywhere we want. Why, then, don't you see legions of people at parks, beaches, or even sidewalk cafes typing away on their laptops? Mainly because they simply can't see their screens.

    It doesn't have to be this way. A little planning and know-how can get you ahead of the game when it comes to using your gadgetry outside. Whether you're reading ebooks on your iPhone or sneaking in a few work emails while the kids build a sand castle, here's how best to set yourself up to work alongside Mother Nature.

    Fall Into Shadow

    When working outdoors, shade is your friend. In fact, if you haven't prepared in advance for your outdoor adventure, it's pretty much all you've got. Your only hope to see anything on most LCD screens is to find some shade and dig deep into it.

    HoodmanThis portable, folding hood provides instant, deep shade.Anything can be used as shade in a pinch, from the obvious tree, umbrella, or side of a building to less evident objects, like a cast-off pizza box folded into a tent or, in a pinch, your own head. For head-shading, resist the urge to hold your laptop or mobile phone between you and the sun, thinking you'll block out the light like an eclipse: That simply won't work. Switch it around and put your head between the sun and the screen, so the shadow of your noggin falls on the display. This won't provide much shade, but, for limited use and with small screens like your phone, it will work well enough to at least read text.

    Get Shade Anywhere

    If working outside is going to be a regular thing for you, you might consider investing in a portable shade device that you can take with you as part of your travel kit. A company calledHoodman offers two clever covers that hook over your laptop's screen, shading it on all sides from sunlight while still giving you access to the keyboard. It looks a little strange--but no stranger than you will look working on your computer on the beach--and it works quite well. Best of all, the soft-sided shade collapses flat and stores easily in the included carrying case. Versions for Macs or PCs are available, both $40.

    Outdoor Out the Gate

    Fujitsu Stylistic Q550The field of outdoor-ready laptops is small, but it includes this Fujitsu Stylistic Q550 tablet.If you're a true outdoorsman, you may want to consider one of the small number of laptops that are available with so-called "indoor/outdoor" displays, designed for visibility inside or outside. When shopping, look for "I/O," "Outdoor View," or "Enhanced Outdoor" as part of the screen specs, or just ask--sometimes this key feature can be omitted completely from a list of a computer's specs.

    This technology has been especially popular with older-style tablet PCs as well as a few newer slate tablets. Some current devices that include the technology are the Fujitsu Stylistic Q550, the HP EliteBook 2760p, and most of the Panasonic Toughbookline.

    Compare and Contrast

    Using a high-contrast color scheme will improve your outdoor viewing experience, no matter how much shade you have, by turning your working experience into a black-and-white one that scrubs out many of the shades of gray (and splashes of color) to which office users are accustomed. The result is a stripped-down computing experience, but one that will make outdoor viewing considerably easier.

    Set contrast options in Windows 7.Windows’ high contrast themes aren’t the prettiest on the block, but they make outdoor operating easier.In Windows 7, open the Personalization Control Panel and scroll down a bit below the Aero Themes. You'll see the Basic and High Contrast Themes listed here. Experiment with the four high-contrast options to find the one that works the best for you--though adjusting to a white-on-black color scheme can be jarring and will take some acclimation time.

    Your LCD brightness should generally be set to the maximum available (though this will put more strain on your battery), and you might also consider increasing the text size by using the "Larger - 150%" setting on the home screen of the Display Control panel, to make things even easier to read.

    Get E-Inked

    Got a lot of reading to do but don't want to put it on paper? Electronic ink devices like Amazon's Kindle are perfect for this kind of work, since the reflective screen is designed to work without backlighting. The result: Text on a Kindle looks even better under bright light than in the dark.

    The newest Kindle can accept a wide variety of file formats, including Word, PDF, RTF, HTML, plain text, and various image formats for display on the device. Simply email the documents as attachments to the address noted on your Kindle's Settings page under "Device Email." Amazon offers copious additional details on the ins and outs of sending personal documents to your Kindle at this link. But remember that older Kindle models have different supported formats.

    Surf's Up, Sand's Out

    If your outdoor working adventure is taking you somewhere more exotic than the backyard, be sure to prepare for those twin menaces of all electronic devices, water and sand. Water is well understood as an electronic hazard, but sand can quickly brick anything with moving parts: A single grain of the stuff can kill your digital camera's zoom mechanism or prevent the shutter from opening and closing, not to mention scratching the screen of your tablet or laptop.

    Waterproof iPad case from TrendyDigitalBag your laptop, tablet, or cell phone with an instant waterproofing system like this one from Trendy Digital.Protection from the elements can be as simple as keeping your gadgets in a sealed Ziploc bag when they aren't in use, or as complicated as investing in a custom, ruggedized, waterproof case. A wide variety of cases for all manner of devices are available. You can check out brands like OtterBoxXGear, andTrendyDigital to get started.

    Now About That Web Connection...

    Seeing your screen is one thing. Getting online is another. In parks, on beaches, and even in backyards, getting a Wi-Fi or cellular signal can be a challenge. Short of petitioning your carrier to erect a cell phone tower closer to the waterfront, these tricks can increase your chances of getting a wireless signal from a remote location.

    Wi-Fi: If you're simply working in the backyard and are trying to access the Wi-Fi signal inside your house, you can accomplish this in a few ways. You can extend the signal outdoors by relocating your router near that side of the house or add a repeater to extend the signal outdoors. Aftermarket antennas can also be used with some routers to increase their signal strength, hopefully letting you reach your hammock in the gazebo with a Wi-Fi signal. If changing your router setup doesn't work, you can invest in a new Wi-Fi card for your laptop with an external, high-gain antenna, increasing your available range.

    WWAN: Again, if you're near home and outdoor cellular signal strength (either for voice or data usage) is no good, you can use a femtocell to boost the signal. Verizon's Wireless Network Extender and AT&T's MicroCell attach to your home broadband connection and act as a sort of mini tower. Femtocell range is typically under 150 feet, so locate the unit near the backyard.

    zBoostzBoost signal-boosting device.

    However, if you're in a public place and need a better signal, a few hacks can boost the number of bars you get on certain phones by one or two, although few of the hacks are very pretty. The website Wisebread experimented with an admittedly ugly wire-and-cans trick and claimed a three-bar improvement in a cellular signal. Rick Broida has some additional tips on the subject, including a discussion of zBoost, which is a more appropriate range-boosting solution for newer phones, MiFi units, and mobile hotspots--all of which increasingly lack the external antenna connector required for tricks like the cantenna described above.

    Don't Forget the Juice

    As a final consideration, remember that working outdoors usually means being disconnected from the grid, and since upping the contrast and other tweaks can drain your battery faster, you may find your laptop fading before your sunscreen does.

    The solution is simple, if on the expensive side: Upgrade to an extended-cell battery, using a "battery slice," which is a flat battery that locks onto the bottom of a laptop--or simply carry spare batteries with you to get considerably more running time when you're working remotely. For smaller devices such as cameras or dedicated voice recorders, rechargeable batteries generally provide more bang for the buck.

    More esoteric power solutions--like solar recharging systems--won't offer much help. Most of them just don't have the power required to provide much of a boost to anything beyond a cell phone or camera--and even then, their internal batteries will need to be charged before you head out.

    However, before draining your gadgets out in the wild, you can follow some proven tips to helpboost the battery life of your laptop and smartphone.

    Related Articles

    What gear and tricks do you use to work outside of the office? Please share your tips in the comments below. For more advice, see the following articles.

  • CNN: "New 'iPhone 4S' might come to Sprint, T-Mobile"

    May 19, 2011 - Leave a Comment

    (CNN) -- Maybe the hotly anticipated iPhone 5 won't be an iPhone 5 at all.

    But it might be available on more carriers.

    The emerging theory, based on reports from industry analysts, is that the next model of Apple's smartphone will be called the iPhone 4S and be an update of the current model, not a radical advance.

    Multiple sites this weekend were citing a report by Peter Misek, an analyst with Jefferies & Co.

    "According to our industry checks, the device should be called iPhone 4S and include minor cosmetic changes, better cameras, A5 dual-core processor, and HSPA+ support," Misek wrote in a report Friday.

    Other analysts have offered similar predictions.

    But Misek also wrote that Sprint, T-Mobile and China Mobile will be added as iPhone carriers, citing more "industry checks."

    The A5 dual-core processor is the same one that's in the iPad 2. A dual-core processor is considered faster at running two programs at once than the single-core A4 processor in the iPhone 4.

    The term "HSPA+ is a reference to high-speed processing. The phone reportedly will not utilize long-term evolution (LTE) technology, which is frequently marketed as 4G coverage.

    The reports, and speculation, come as Apple's traditional iPhone freshen-up approaches.

    Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference begins June 6. That's been used as Apple's launching pad for the latest iPhone the past few years, but Apple has suggested the event will focus almost exclusively on software this year.

    The tech-community's hunch is that a new iPhone will be unveiled in the fall and rolled out in time for the holidays.

  • Mommy Blog: Zazoo Kids Alarm Clock

    May 16, 2011 - Leave a Comment

    As a mom to a 4 year old and 18 month old, sleep is a precious commodity in our house. Now our daughter can't get out of the crib ...yet so she is there until we go to get her but our 4 year old on the other hand has his moments. For the most part both are amazing sleepers but he goes through spells of getting up and since he can't tell time just yet he goes by whether it is dark or light or a potty call or he "got scared Mommy".  This alarm clock sounds like the perfect gift for him.   Maybe it will work and maybe not but I think a few extra minutes of sleep are worth the cost.

    http://gadgetwise.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/22/longer-sleep-for-your-children-and-you/?nl=technology&emc=cta4

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