Make Tech Easier » Gadgets http://www.maketecheasier.com Uncomplicating the complicated, making life easier Thu, 07 Nov 2013 06:45:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.1 10 Things You Never Knew You Could Do With A USB Flash Drivehttp://www.maketecheasier.com/10-things-to-do-with-usb-drive/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/10-things-to-do-with-usb-drive/#comments Tue, 21 May 2013 14:50:00 +0000 http://www.maketecheasier.com/?p=72613 USB flash drives are a cheap and portable way to back up files and move them around between machines. If you want to breathe new life into your old USB flash drives, here are ten things you may have never known they could do.

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FlashDrive-smallUSB flash drives are a cheap and portable way to back up files and move them around between machines. But as cloud storage becomes cheaper and WiFi more accessible, flash drives aren’t as necessary as they once were. You probably now have a couple sitting around in a drawer that rarely ever get used. If you want to breathe new life into your old USB flash drives, here are ten things you may have never known they could do.

Linux USB

Most Linux distributions can be booted from live CDs as a means of trying them out before giving them a full install. In recent years, the trend has shifted towards creating live USBs instead. You can download the appropriate software for your distro of choice and burn an image to your flash drive, creating a means of testing out and installing Linux that is more durable than a CD-ROM. USB drives can hold more data than CDs, allowing you to boot up distros that are too large to fit on a disk.

Persistent OS

If you want something more permanent than a live USB, which do not save any changes you make, you can install several distributions directly to your flash drive. This way you can boot up your own personal operating system on other peoples’ computers and still have access to the files you’ve created and the programs you’ve installed. Pendrivelinux is one option, but at this point in time, even the major distributions such as Ubuntu supported persistent booting.

Drive Portable

PortableApps.com allows Windows users to bring their favorite programs and files with them on a flash drive without having to boot into a new operating system. When you plug in your flash drive, you can open what amounts to a separate, portable “Start” menu. Not every application is supported, and you may still have to transition to using open source applications to fully take advantage of Portable Apps. If you would prefer an alternative, there’s also LiberKey and winPenPack.

RAM In a case where you have a computer that’s slowing down and a flash drive with extra space, you can use the latter to give the former a speed boost. Using a flash drive to provide your computer with extra memory helps it to manage applications better, giving you a faster experience. Microsoft provides ReadyBoost as a means of speeding up your computer using your flash drive as RAM under Windows.

Hard Drive

Installing Parted Magic to a flash drive helps you more easily re-partition your computer’s hard drive. Partitioning is difficult and dangerous to do when an operating system is running from the hard drive in question, but booting from a flash drive removes some of risk and makes the entire process much more straight forward.

USB Gaming

While it’s not exactly portable gaming, you can install certain games to flash drives, allowing you to get your gaming fix regardless of whose machine you’re using (granted they’re using the same operating system). Not every game supports this functionality, but Minecraft does. Considering how expansive that game is, it might be all you need.

Drive Private

You can turn your entire flash drive into an encrypted partition as a means of keeping private files safe from prying eyes. You also have the option to have your flash drive boot normally but containing a separate partition that encrypts any file placed in it. For an extra layer of security, you can also password protect your encrypted partition. Bitlocker To-Go makes this easy to do.

Drive Unlock

If you don’t feel that using a password alone is secure enough, and your computer doesn’t have a biometric scanner, you still have alternative options for securing your computer. Just turn your flash drive into a key and set your computer to only unlock when the drive is plugged in. If you use Windows, Predator is a popular tool for making this happen, but it’s not the only one out there.

Infected PC

You have the ability to install virus scanners onto your flash drive driver to search for malware on infected computers. You can find offerings to restore your computer after a malware-related crash from well-known companies such as AVG and Kaspersky.

Files

You probably manually drag and drop files onto your flash drive, but there is a simpler means of transporting files. By automatically syncing files between your computer and your flash drive, you can make a it nearly as convenient to use as Dropbox or Google Drive. SyncToy and SyncBack SE are two Windows tools that can make this happen. GoodSync2Go is a solution that works with Mac OS X.

USB flash drives are immensely useful tools capable of fixing computers and booting operating systems. They drop in price each year at the same time that their storage capacity continues to double, making them great for any tech enthusiast on the go. And if all else fails, they’re still good for storing files, too.

What other uses do you use USB drives for?

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How to Amplify Your Smartphone Speakers with Household Items (Infographics)http://www.maketecheasier.com/amplify-smartphone-speakers-with-household-items/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/amplify-smartphone-speakers-with-household-items/#respond Tue, 07 May 2013 17:25:17 +0000 http://www.maketecheasier.com/?p=72176 There are times when you have some killer tunes bumping on your phone, but a stereo docking station is nowhere to be found. With a little improvisation, you can easily amplify your smartphone’s speakers using common items from around the house.

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amplify-speaker-smallThere are times when you have some killer tunes bumping on your phone, but a stereo docking station is nowhere to be found. So should you call off the party, simply because the technology isn’t on hand? Of course not.

With a little improvisation and some MacGyver-style know-how, you can easily amplify your smartphone’s speakers using common items from around the house. As you can see in the infographic below, there are two methods, depending on where the speakers are located on your phone.

ampify-speaker-infographics

To make a simple amplifier for a smartphone with bottom-facing speakers, you’ll need these items: tape, a Pringles container, a utility knife, a highlighter, a roll of toilet paper, a binder clip, a can of spray paint (optional), and of course, your mobile phone.

Steps 1 & 2: Begin by using the highlighter to mark an area at one end of the Pringles can – this area should be the approximate width of your phone so it will fit snugly. Then use the utility knife to make a rectangular cut according to the dimensions of your mobile device.

Step 3: Next, take the binder clip and position it near the center of the tube. Place the metallic clips onto the container so that binder’s opening area (used for binding papers) is facing away from the container. Tape the metallic clips to the tube so it stays upright when your phone is placed into it.

Step 4: Now, you can optionally spray paint the tube your color of choice. Be careful to do this in a ventilated area, and take care not to breathe any fumes. Wait for the paint to dry before moving to the next step.

Steps 5 & 6: Pull two or three 14-inch strips of tissue from your toilet paper roll. These don’t need to be precise, but you can measure them if you feel it’s necessary. Ball them up and put them into the opposite end of the tube.

Step 7: Insert your smartphone, hit play, and get ready to party.

In order to construct an amplifier for phones with back-facing speakers, you’ll need to gather up some items: your phone, three bobby pins, a utility knife, and a plastic disposable SOLO cup.

Step 1 & 2: Start by bending two of the bobby pins out into a 90-degree right angle. Then bend them back in so that they will fit snugly around the bottom of your phone. Make sure one end is a little longer than the other.

Step 3: Cut a rectangle that’s roughly the dimensions of your phone’s speaker into the cup. Be sure to leave a little more room at the top according to where the speaker is positioned on your phone.

Step 4: Cut four little holes into the cup. The holes should be slightly less than the width of your phone.

Step 5: Put the two bobby pins from steps 1 & 2 into the holes according to steps A and B in the diagram below. Use the third bobby pin by running it through the top holes, bending it to securely hold the other two booby pins.

Step 6: Place your phone into the clips and hit play. Depending on the weight of your phone, you may need to weigh the cup down in order for it remain upright (Note: do not use a liquid). Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll be all set to enjoy some great music with your friends.

DJ Miller is a graduate student out of Tampa, FL. He is an avid gadget geek with a passion for creativity and ingenuity. He first learned how to make this homemade speaker with his T-Mobile Smartphone and then realized it could work for everyone. You can follow him on twitter @MillerHeWrote.

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Use the Webcam of Your Computer as a Surveillance Camerahttp://www.maketecheasier.com/use-the-webcam-as-surveillance-camera/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/use-the-webcam-as-surveillance-camera/#respond Tue, 30 Apr 2013 23:25:40 +0000 http://www.maketecheasier.com/?p=70656 Are you sick and tired of your roommate or simply anyone at your home using your computer? How about turning your webcam into a surveillance camera and control the recording from your smartphone? We will show you how.

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Athome-streamer-thumbAre you sick and tired of your roommate or simply anyone at your home using your computer? Installing a CCTV camera in your room may not be the most feasible solution. Thanks to modern technology and smartphones, there are a handful of applications available that can help you track down and record who uses your laptop using your smartphone.

However, most of the apps you will come across will cost you or may not work properly. If you want to use the webcam of your computer as a surveillance camera with the aide of your smartphone, try AtHome Video Streamer.

Athome Video Streamer is a very handy tool that is available for all popular platforms, including Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. After installing the app on both your computer and smartphone, you can use your computer as a surveillance camera. In the free version, you can record up to 15 minutes of recording per day, and it’s limited to one connection ID. If you want to make use of more CIDs and unlimited recording, you have to purchase the Pro version. The Pro version is currently available for iOS devices only, but the developer plans on releasing it for other platforms as well.

Point your web browser to the download page of Athome Video Streamer and download the software. Installing the software is pretty simple and straightforward; just launch the setup and follow on screen instructions.

When you launch it for the first time, it will ask you to give the computer a name and set up a username and password.

athome-streamer-set-up-cid

After registration it will take you to the main Athome Video Streamer page and will give you a Connection ID (CID) that will be used later.

athome-streamer-main-window

Install Athome Video Streamer Free on your device (I will be using my iPhone to view the surveillance video). After installing, it will show you a welcome screen from where you can add the camera. Tap the Add button.

athome-streamer-welcome-screen

Enter the CID from the application and login with the credentials you created in step 1.

athome-streamer-signup

It will show you the list of cameras. In the free version, you can only add one CID. Tap on it and you will have access to your computer’s camera to view live streaming of your webcam.

athome-streamer-camera-list

athome-streamer-camera

If you want, you can even schedule recording for a certain time period. Additionally, it can work via the motion detector. When the motion exceeds the specified sensitivity level, it automatically start the recording and will stop thirty seconds after the motion falls below the specified level.

athome-streamer-timed-recording

From the settings, you can change the name of the camera, change frame rate and other basic settings as well.

athome-streamer-settings

Athome Video Streamer is a very handy app that can help you use your computer as a surveillance camera instead of having to purchase other costly equipment. Additionally, you have the option of remaining totally free with that version, or you can purchase the Pro version for $7.99.

Feel free to share your thoughts if you tried AtHome Video Streamer or a similar app setup.

Image credit: Webcam

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MTE Explains: Smartphone Battery Life – Why They Drain So Quickly And Possible Solutionshttp://www.maketecheasier.com/why-smartphone-battery-life-drain-so-quickly/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/why-smartphone-battery-life-drain-so-quickly/#respond Thu, 18 Apr 2013 14:50:52 +0000 http://www.maketecheasier.com/?p=70167 Have you ever wondered why your smartphone battery life is much worst than the old dumb phone? In this article, we will explain the cause for poor battery life and the solutions to extend it.

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smartphonebattery-drainI just bought a smartphone a few days ago, and there’s one thing I noticed – my older Samsung “dumb” phone has a stunning battery life, but the brand-new phone doesn’t quite hold its own for more than a day after some moderate use. Why does this happen? Aren’t batteries more buffed? We’ll answer these questions and others about smartphone battery life and why it tends to lose charge after so little time.

smartphonebattery-wifi-antenna

Your WiFi antenna uses a lot of battery power. Even while you’re not browsing the Web, the antenna will remain active as long as you leave it on. Turning off the antenna when you’re not using your phone will help maintain a healthy battery. On my phone, the WiFi antenna uses the most power. I understand this isn’t the case with all phones, but it’s a general trend. Antennas are very power-hungry pieces of hardware. Don’t put unnecessary strain on your phone.

But here’s one positive thing, using WiFi is much better than using 3G or 4G LTE. While you’re connected to the mobile networks, it takes more time to download things than it would on your private WiFi network. I must also mention that WiFi routers are closer to you than wireless broadband transmitters, most of the time. Because of this, the antenna is working for a longer time and draining considerable amounts of power. The distance aspect also adds to the amount of power required to make a transaction. So, if you must download something, download via WiFi wherever possible.

smartphonebattery-galaxy-s-iii-battery

Take a good look at a smartphone’s internal hardware. It’s quite a beast! There’s a CPU (quad-core on higher-end models) that is normally used on larger devices, a significant amount of flash memory, SD cards, multiple wireless antennas, a digitizer, and a back-lit screen. Phones are packing more hardware while making very unimpressive improvements in battery technology. There’s not much you can do except make a super-thick phone with a 3700 mAh Li-Ion battery; and no one really wants to carry around a brick.

Laptop batteries have thousands of mAh, ranging from a low 3000 to a high 6000. Phones typically have smaller batteries. Since the dimensions are so limited, manufacturers are forced to pack batteries with smaller capacities than those found in laptops. Granted, CPU technology in smartphones is different (ARM architecture, which uses less power and costs less to produce). But even with a CPU that chews up less of your battery, you can still expect a battery life of less than a day with heavy use.

smartphonebattery-4gantenna

You might not notice it, but with faster Internet speed, you are downloading more things. And all these downloads take up more battery power than you realize. Basically, the more bandwidth you use, the more battery power you suck up. The continuous cycle of downloading will also wear the battery down faster.

The answer to this question will always be tough. Each phone has its own disadvantages, so there’s no real way to determine what’s really eating up all your juice. iOS is great at managing your apps so they don’t consume unnecessary battery power. Android makes it easy through a battery management screen (Settings -> About Phone -> Battery Use). Just look at the screen and see where you can improve. But that’s not all. There’s also an app out there  for Android called Battery Doctor. This app gives you more detailed diagnostic information that’s considerably more useful.

There’s also an iOS version and Windows Phone 8. The Windows version is rather rudimentary and not as fun to use, but it gets the job done.

Here are a few tips that will work on any phone:

  • As mentioned earlier, minimize your use of antennas (3G/4G, WiFi, GPS).
  • Try using high-speed WiFi instead of 3G/4g. It’s faster and therefore uses your antenna for less time.
  • Use push notifications. If your email provider supports it, enable it. Polling the inbox for messages every once in a while will drop your battery level unnecessarily.
  • Get rid of all the widgets you can possibly do without. They’re apps that are open 24/7. Do you really need them all?
  • Keep the phone at a place where its radio signal (determined by signal bars) is strong. Weak signals require more antenna power to maintain a connection. The same goes for WiFi.
  • Take your phone out of your pocket when in cool places. Li-Ion batteries are more efficient when colder.
  • Dim the screen just a little, if you can.
  • Close as many apps as possible.
  • Be mindful of how much activity you have on your phone. Use it only when you need it.

Of course, we all know it’s very fun to use a smartphone! But try resisting the urge to tweet every station you stop at while you’re on the bus. Behavior moderation is the best way to keep the phone alive for the longest possible period of time.

Tell us about about your own battery-saving tips. Let us know in the comments section below what you’ve done to save your smartphone battery life.

Image credit: Samsung battery

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Samsung MV900F Smart Camera reviewhttp://www.maketecheasier.com/samsung-mv900f-smart-camera-review/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/samsung-mv900f-smart-camera-review/#respond Mon, 08 Apr 2013 21:25:43 +0000 http://www.maketecheasier.com/?p=69528 Samsung is capable of producing good smart camera as well. We have got our hands on the Samsung MV900F Smart Camera and it is pretty amazing.

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mv900f-mainSamsung is probably more well-known for their Galaxy series of Android phone, but do you know they are capable of producing good smart camera as well. We have got our hands on the Samsung MV900F Smart Camera and played with it for a week. The result is pretty amazing.

Samsung MV900F comes with an image sensor of 16.3 effective megapixel 1/2.33″ BSI CMOS and a len of F2.5, 25mm with 5x optical zoom. At the back of the camera is a 3.31″ WVGA AMOLED C Type Touch Display that can be flipped 180 degrees up and turn itself into a front shooting camera.

mv900f-flip-out-display

The image resolution comes at 16M, 14M, 12M, 10M, 5M, 3M, 2M, 1M and the ISO settings is available from 100~3200, which is good for low light shooting. It is also able to shoot video at full HD 1080/30p.

Samsung MV900F supports micro SD card, Micro SDHC, SDXC and it has AV and HDMI 1.3 output.

From the spec, you should be able to tell that this is not a high end camera. For those who are into professional photography, this is probably not the one for you. In fact, it is more of a simple point-and-shoot camera bundled with plenty of features. What make the camera so good is the “smartness” that is built into the camera.

First of all, the flip out display is good for taking self portraits. Instead of pointing the lens aimlessly at yourself and hoping your image is properly taken, you can now see from the flip out display and aim properly before you take the shot. It is even equipped with motion detection where you can use gesture to zoom in/out the lens.

mv900f-gesture-shot

Drawing a circle (in the air) in clockwise direction will zoom in the lens while the opposite direction will zoom out the lens. Moving your hand up and down instructs the camera to take photo. This means that even from a distance, you can remote control the camera to take a shot of yourself.

Other than the standard Auto and Program mode which are found in most cameras, there are plenty of photo modes in MV900F that you can make use of. There is the Smart Auto, Program, Movie, Low Light Shot, Scene (Landscape, Sunset, Dawn, Backlight, Beach & Snow and Text) and a Live Panorama mode where you can take panorama photos. There is also a 3D Photo mode, but I don’t really see any difference from the photos taken with this mode.

mv900f-effects

In addition, if you are into effects (like those you found in your smartphone’s camera), MV900F also comes with such effects built in. There is the Beauty Palette, Beauty Shot, Photo Filter, Movie Filter, Picture in Picture and Spilt Shot. It is really like a Instagram built into the camera.

The best part about MV900F is the ability to connect to a WiFi network and share your photo to Facebook, Picasa, YouTube and PhotoBucket. There is also an email function that allows you to email the photo to a friend, right within the camera.

mv900f-social-sharing

If you have an Android phone, you can also download the “Remote Viewfinder” app and use your phone as a viewfinder for your camera. Not that I suggest you do, but this can be a great feature for spying on others.

The image below is a screenshot of the remote viewfinder in action on my Android phone. My camera is facing the door in the office and I am looking at it from outside my office. You can see that there is flash and timer option, and changing the pixel resolution of the image.

mv900f-remote-viewfinder

While we would classified the MV900F as a simple point-and-shoot camera, it is really not that simple at all. With all the “smartness” built into it, it is really handy and easy to get that “perfect” shot (with filters, effects and editing, of course) quickly and send it to your friend or social network. One thing though, I am still not a fan of touch screen camera as it makes the camera very fragile and I hate to see a screen full of fingerprints. You could have a different view though.

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BlackVPN TV Router: Always-On VPN Connection to Access Blocked Content From USAhttp://www.maketecheasier.com/blackvpn-router-always-on-vpn-connection/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/blackvpn-router-always-on-vpn-connection/#respond Fri, 29 Mar 2013 21:25:46 +0000 http://maketecheasier.com/?p=68696 If you are one of those people who love to access blocked content from USA, then this BlackVPN TV router is suitable for you.

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blackvpn-router-thumbConnecting to a VPN network is easy. All you have to do is install the software provided by the VPN provider and run it. In less than a minute, you will be connected to the VPN. However, if you are planning to share the VPN connection with multiple devices, or watch Internet TV on your smart TV, the typical VPN connection is just not up for the job. You will need a VPN router.

The VPN router is just like any router, except that it is connected to a VPN service (or have the ability to connect to VPN) internally. When you connect to the router, either via ethernet or WiFi, you are automatically connected to a VPN network. There is no software to install or configuration to be done on your machine. Everything just work. This is great if you need to access to a VPN connection on multiple devices at your home (or workplace).

And this is what the BlackVPN router is about. You just have to connect to the BlackVPN WiFI network and you are automatically connected to their VPN service. As easy as that!

BlackVPN Router is based on the Cisco Linksys E1550 router and is running on the DD-WRT firmware. It is preconfigured with the BlackVPN service, so the moment it detects an Internet connection, it will internally connect to the BlackVPN service.

blackvpn-router

The setting up of BlackVPN Router is very easy. All you need to do is to power up the device and connect a LAN cable from your existing router’s LAN port, or the direct Internet source, to the “Internet” port of the BlackVPN router. In less than a minute, you should see a new “BlackVPN” WiFi network appear in your network manager (the alternative method is to plug an ethernet cable from the LAN port of the BlackVPN router to your computer’s ethernet port). Once you are connected to the network, you are on the VPN network.

blackvpn-wifi-network

A quick IP check show that my IP is now 208.76.55.194, which is an IP from US, Florida. Note that I am residing in Singapore, so this shows that the VPN connection is working.

blackvpn-check-ip-address

Accessing blocked content

Other than online privacy, a VPN connection is most useful for accessing content that are not available in your country, such as Pandora, Netflix, Spotify etc. BlackVPN provides a list of blocked content that you can access with the router. I tried Spotify, Netflix and Hulu, and they all worked. I am also able to run the Spotify app on my desktop, which I previously couldn’t.

blackvpn-running-spotify

In fact, when used together with the Roku Streaming Player, the BlackVPN router allows you to access to more than 700+ channels of online TV, movies, sports, music and etc, which you would not be able to access otherwise. This is simply amazing for someone who is not residing in USA

Speed test

I did a quick speed test on how fast the VPN connection is and whether it is able to support media streaming from the Web. I did find the speed on the slower side, but that is highly subjective as I am always on a fast 100Mbps broadband service. The result below shows that while the speed is not blazingly fast, it is still within the acceptable range for online streaming and file downloading.

blackvpn-router-speedtest

As I mentioned earlier, the router is tied to the BlackVPN service. The bad news is, the BlackVPN connection is not free forever. As for the good news, you get to enjoy a full whole of year of unlimited VPN connection. At the end of the year, you can choose to renew the VPN service (at €49 per year) or simply reset the router and use it as a normal router.

In addition, this specific TV router only comes with a USA, or UK connection. If you are looking for VPN connection to another location, this router is not for you.

If you are one of those who need to connect to VPN on multiple devices all the time, this VPN router will be a great choice for you. It is also great for those who are not residing in US, but love to watch Internet movies (and access blocked content) on your smart TV.

BlackVPN TV Router is currently selling at €99.00 and comes with free Worldwide shipping and a year of unlimited connection to BlackVPN service.

Thanks to BlackVPN for sending us a review unit.

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Is Buying an Extended Warranty Worth the Price Paid? [Opinion]http://www.maketecheasier.com/is-buying-extended-warranty-worth-the-price-paid/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/is-buying-extended-warranty-worth-the-price-paid/#comments Wed, 02 Jan 2013 15:50:15 +0000 http://maketecheasier.com/?p=62461 In our elation over walking out the door with a new computer or device, we're often talked into buying an extended warranty just in case the product breaks. What's your opinon?

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Will you purchase an extended warrantyThere’s no better feeling than coming home with a brand new expensive “toy,” whether it’s a computer, mobile phone, table, HDTV, or even a new car. In our elation over walking out the door with this new toy, we’re often talked into buying an extended warranty just in case the product breaks before we we can get our money’s worth.

The question: Is buying an extended warranty worth the price that we pay? It’s a hard decision to buy a big-ticket item anyway, then once you tack on even more money to buy the warranty it’s an even harder pill to swallow. Are the warranties even worth that extra money or is it better just to hedge our bets and hope for the best?

Here is what our writers feel about extended warranty:

Laura Tucker:

For my money it depends on what I’m buying and the company’s reputation, whether it’s through the the manufacturer, the reseller, or a company that specializes in warranties. I’ve been burned before when a company who has sold me an extended warranty has gone out of business, and I’ve wasted my money. When I’m buying computer products, I’m usually buying Apple, and they offer and extended AppleCare warranty ($249-$349 on MacBooks, $149-$169 on iMac and Mac Mini), and are known for their customer service. It’s saved me from costly repairs on both a laptop and a desktop. Cars factor into the equation in the same manner. With a larger item like that, that seven-year warranty is more than worth it.

Warranty-AppleCare

I don’t bother to buy an extended warranty on my iPhones and iPads ($99), though, because I’m replacing them every year or two anyway, so there doesn’t seem to be a point of buying a warranty that extends past the first year, especially when the standard extended warranty doesn’t even cover water damage.

Emmanuel Banks:

Emmanuel feels the same, believing that it’s needed on “certain, big box items like televisions and computers.” But in regards to iPhones, his thought is to “just slap on a sturdy case and be careful after your complimentary warranty is up.”

Warranty-Lenovo

Ruji:

Ruji also considers the brand of the merchandise. She, too, had an Apple computer and wished she had opted for the extended warranty. She currently has a Lenovo ThinkPad, and did opt for the extended warranty (Price unpublished, but they extend and upgrade standard warranties), but isn’t sure whether it is worth it or not, as “their customer support has been pretty abysmal so far.” This is despite the fact that it does cover hardware replacement and accidental damage and that it also offers next-day on-site support. Ruji appreciates the on-site support over having to ship the computer out to a factory to be serviced. Ultimately for her, it comes down to how long she plans on using the item and her confidence in fixing problems herself.

Trevor:

Trevor looks at his extended warranty options the same way. The only time he considers an add-on warranty or service plan is when he knows he “will really be pushing the item to the limit physically” or knows “it will be in an environment where it could easily be damaged.” He doesn’t typically purchase the warranties for tablets or laptops but has for items like speakers.

Damien and Soumen:

Both MTE editor-in-chief Damien and writer Soumen avoid extended warranties altogether. Damien considers how quickly electronic products become obsolete, making him realize “there is no point in getting the product repaired when there is a better and cheaper alternative in the market.” Soumen waits until later on to decide how likely he is to keep a product before deciding whether to purchase an add-on warranty or not.

This all comes down, of course, to a realization of your own personal use of the product coupled with the reputation of the manufacturer. If you know yourself to be really hard on products, then extended warranties are definitely something for you to consider. If the manufacturer doesn’t have a good reputation for carrying through on their promises, it might not be a good idea to make that investment into buying an extended warranty, realizing that you’ll just need to cut your losses when your computer, phone, or tablet experiences some type of mishap.

Back to you, will you buy an extended warranty for the products you have just purchased?

Image credit: Hand and stamp Warranty by BigStockPhoto

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These Gadgets Could Save Your Phone When It Is Running Out Of Power [iOS]http://www.maketecheasier.com/useful-gadgets-to-boost-iphone-battery-life/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/useful-gadgets-to-boost-iphone-battery-life/#respond Wed, 29 Aug 2012 23:50:36 +0000 http://maketecheasier.com/?p=55291 Did you ever wish you can bring a portable charger with you, or charge two devices at once? Here are some gadgets that can do a little extra and make life just a little more convenient for you.

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Charging-LogoiOS devices all come with the same charging cords and wall units, or at least they look the same. The iPad charger gives a higher charge. These cords and chargers aren’t always the most convenient though. Did you ever wish you had one you could fit in your pocket, you could charge two devices at once, or that you could get your case to work double duty?

There are many third party items on the market that will charge your iPad or iPhone, but the following list of items will also do something a little extra and make life just a little more convenient for you.

Charging-Powerstation

The Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Duo works with all iOS devices. It features four times the charging speed of normal chargers (500mAh) and allows you to switch between that highest speed (2.1A), as well as 1A and 500mAh. You can also charge two of your devices at the same time. That’s handy for when two devices are about to die at the same time. You won’t be forced to switch back and forth trying to keep charges on them enough to keep one going while you charge the other. The Powerstation Duo plugs into a USB outlet to power on.

Charging-Case

It’s two for the price of one, or at least an expensive price of one that is cheaper than two. This iPhone case doubles as a battery pack. What more could you want? The rechargeable battery is hidden inside the metallic case that comes in a variety of colors. The whole thing is protected by a rubberized band around the outside. It promises to give you up to eight hours of talking time on the phone, seven hours of 3G web browsing, and eleven hours of WiFi web browsing. An LED button on the bottom shows you how much power you have left.

Charging-Reserve

This rechargeable battery resembles a cigarette lighter, although it’s definitely bigger, at .34 inches x 6.75 inches x 4.25 inches. It holds 700mAh and has a built-in USB cable, leaving no cords to worry about. Hanging from a keychain, it can be clipped onto a keyring, a backpack, a purse, or a laptop bag. It’s so convenient you don’t have to plan to take it with you. Just keep it clipped on at all times when not in use.

Charging-Stitchway

The Stitchway works the same as the Mophie Juice Pack Reserve, except it can be found for much cheaper. You can get it as cheap as five dollars. Instead of slipping it on a keyring, you can just slip it in your pocket instead. It fits well onto the bottom of your iPhone to where it almost seems like it belongs there.

Cellink-I

The Cellink I adds another couple of benefits in along with the charging and extra battery power when you need it. It will also do data transfer, and can be plugged into your computer and used as a MicroSD USB Reader. It cuts down on the number of items you have to carry with you when you’re traveling.

Charging-MyCharge

Like the others on this list, the Peak 6000 also has some extra benefits. There’s a wall plug built into it, for one. It flips down allowing you to plug the unit directly into a wall unit to save you from bringing a separate wall plug. It has both a 30-pin connector to charge your iPhone or iPad, and also has an extra USB port to power an iPhone or IPad while it charges a separate device. It won’t completely recharge your iPad, but does give you some extra power when you need it. It will also charge and sync your iPhone and iPad at the same time.

These little gadgets aren’t meant to replace those familiar white plugs and cords, but to make charging iOS devices just that much easier. They make it possible to charge more than one at a time, to travel without so many cords and plugs, and to even offer a convenient way to back up your data.

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Play Your Music Wirelessly With The Blackberry Music Gatewayhttp://www.maketecheasier.com/play-your-music-wirelessly-with-the-blackberry-music-gateway/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/play-your-music-wirelessly-with-the-blackberry-music-gateway/#respond Thu, 23 Aug 2012 23:25:45 +0000 http://maketecheasier.com/?p=54979 If you haven't learned already, the more wireless things are, the better. Cords are becoming a thing of the past. RIM understands this, and this is the reason behind their release of the Blackberry Music Gateway. The Music Gateway takes the cords out of having to play music from your device to speakers.

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MusicGateway_mainIf you haven’t learned already, the more wireless things are, the better. Cords are becoming a thing of the past. RIM understands this, and this is the reason behind their release of the Blackberry Music Gateway. The Music Gateway takes the cords out of having to play music from your device to speakers. This magic is done thanks to Bluetooth or Near Field Communication (NFC). NFC, which first gained notoriety through mobile payment systems, is now being found in the Blackberry Music Gateway to allow for cordless music enjoyment. Today, we will talk more about the hardware, find out how to connect, and enjoy what Blackberry Music Gateway has to offer.

MusicGateway_WhatisGateway

Previously, we had to connect our devices to a speaker through a cord to hear the music. This, many times, prevented us from being able to charge said device, go in the other room to answer an email with it, or do other things with the device being used. Cords were a way that tied down that device, forcing you to interrupt the music session when needed. While this may be just fine for someone blasting music to their own delight at home, for individuals at parties, this just isn’t acceptable. Blackberry Music Gateway solves this problem by allowing individuals to have a device connected to their speakers, sort of as a connection portal (or Gateway) that connects the device holding the music, with the gadget playing the music.

The good thing about this device is that you don’t need to own a Blackberry to connect to it. As long as your mobile devices support bluetooth or NFC, you can easily pair it with the Gateway and blast your music wirelessly. And yes, when I say “mobile devices”, it includes your laptop as well.

MusicGateway_HowdoISetUp

First off, you need to ensure that you have your device connected before connecting to the speakers. To do this, ensure that your Gateway is in some sort of power source. This can be a laptop if you are on the go (through the USB port), your car headphone jack, or even an outlet if you’re stationary. From there, you should see a light on.

  • You should expect to see either a blue, red, or green at any time through the life of your Blackberry Music Gateway.
  • Green always means that it’s powered on.
  • A red light always means you don’t have a connection. If it’s flashing quickly, this should be an alert to you that you lost your connection. If blinking slowly, this simply means you haven’t attempted a connection just yet.
  • The next color is blue, if this is blinking fast, then good news, you’re connected. If not, then it’s still good news, this means your Gateway is playing a song/sound. If mixed with red, this means it’s currently attempting to connect.

After the Gateway is plugged to a power source, press the top of the Gateway device, you’ll then have to go on to your Blackberry (or any other mobile device) and activate Bluetooth. Once Bluetooth is activated, you should be able to see the name “BlackBerry Music Gateway” in the list. At this point, once it is selected and paired, the light should be Blue.

To pair with NFC, Near-Field Communication, power the Gateway on, press the top of the Gateway, and activate NFC on your BlackBerry. From there, tap the Blackberry on top of the Music Gateway to activate.

MusicGateway_MyExperiencewith

During my week with the Blackberry Music Gateway, I found it to be a device fitting for a get-together or even while on the road. When testing it out on multiple platforms (in the car, through a television, and traditional speakers), I found it to be quite useful. iPhone and Mac games were able to have a more amplified sound when being hooked up to the speakers, increasing the gaming experience. When testing it on the Blackberry, that’s where I truly was able to appreciate the freedom of not being tied down by cords when listening to music and doing other tasks.

Do you need a Blackberry to get the best experience? No, not at all. RIM found a great way to make this platform-blind. Consumers will still not have the device on mind though due to the Blackberry name. Many will say, “I don’t have a Blackberry, so why would I need the Blackberry Music Gateway”. This wasn’t necessarily done on purpose or by accident by RIM, the device is made for Blackberry devices. The ability to work on other devices is just coincidence. That being said, paying $50 to not be tied down to cords while using your Bluetooth device is still something I see as not a bad purchase. Let’s just say, once Apple introduces a NFC iPhone, you’ll probably appreciate the purchase even more!

The Blackberry Music Gateway is sold on the RIM website for $49.95.

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8 Useful Tips For Kindle Firehttp://www.maketecheasier.com/8-useful-tips-for-kindle-fire/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/8-useful-tips-for-kindle-fire/#respond Tue, 10 Jul 2012 14:50:03 +0000 http://maketecheasier.com/?p=52853 Kindle Fire may not be able to compete with some of the bigger tablets but it still has a lot to offer. It’s a great eReader that can be read at night without bothering anyone near you, maintains access to your email, documents, and allows you to download video, music, and games for on the […]

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Kindle-featureKindle Fire may not be able to compete with some of the bigger tablets but it still has a lot to offer. It’s a great eReader that can be read at night without bothering anyone near you, maintains access to your email, documents, and allows you to download video, music, and games for on the go enjoyment. Whether you use it for business or pleasure, it’s very useful for all kinds of things. Here are just a few of the features I find most useful about the Fire that hopefully you find helpful as well!

As you start to use the Kindle Fire to its full potential, you’ll start to fill it up with personal and work information like contacts, emails, and documents. If your Kindle was lost or stolen, not only would your personal and work information be compromised, but the new user could easily add more content from Amazon with your credentials. It’s a good idea to create a security login to lock your screen. Go to the top menu bar and press on the “Gear”. Click “More” and then “Security” to turn the Lock Screen Password on or off. To turn it on, press “On” and then enter your password.

Kindle-lock-screen

Keep your password in a safe place! If you forget your password or enter it wrong 4 times in a row, you’ll lose anything you loaded onto your Kindle and will be required to register it all over again.

Sometimes I read while lying down and the screen on my Kindle will turn causing me to be distracted. While that feature is good for some things, I like to keep things steady while reading. If you’d like to disable the screen rotation, click on the Gear in the menu bar and tap on the “Unlocked” tab to “Lock” it. If you want to disable the lock screen, repeat the steps until it says “Unlocked”.

Kindle-lock-screen-rotation

If you use your Kindle Fire for business, you’ll find the feature to copy documents to it a necessity. There are several ways to do this such as connecting your Kindle to your computer with a USB cable or by emailing them to the Kindle email address assigned to your device. There’s an easier way to do this using Send To Kindle if you have a Windows PC. Simply download the app to your computer and right click on any documents to be copied and choose “Send To Kindle.”

Kindle-send-to-kindle

I wasn’t using my Web feature very much on the Kindle because I found it hard to see the screen. Sure, I could enlarge sections or zoom in to see things better but then I would tap on something that would take me somewhere else and I would just give up altogether. I recently discovered that there’s a setting in the Kindle Fire that allows you to choose the size of the font displayed while browsing the Web. To make your text Large or Huge, open a web page and at the bottom of the screen, tap on the little icon that looks like a piece of paper. Tap the “Text Size” option to open the menu and select the font size you want.

To change the font size of text in books, tap the “Aa” button at the bottom of the screen and select the size that’s best for you. In the same settings box, you can adjust the line spacing, margins and background color to make it easiest for you to read your material.

There was an update released to update your Kindle so you’ll want to make sure you have all the available features. To see if you have the latest version, tap on the “Gear” icon and then select “More”. From there scroll down to the “Device” tab which will display your memory, battery life and other important device information. Under the battery life, you’ll see the “System Version” listed and as of this article, the version should be 6.3. If your version isn’t up to date, tap on the “Gear” again and then tap “Sync”. This will download the latest version to your device.

Kindle-system-version

In the latest version you can remove any book or Add To Favorites directly from the carousel by long pressing on it.

Kindle-remove-from-carousel

If you have children that use your Kindle Fire, you may want to set some parental controls to disable certain functions. Press the “Gear” tab and then “More” to open the menu and scroll down to the “Parental Controls” option. Tap the “On” button to enable the controls and assign a password to access the controls. This will allow you to set controls for many things which include turning the web browser on or off, password protect purchases (so you don’t get a surprise credit card bill for games or apps they downloaded!) and setting content types to block them from accessing Books, Apps, Docs, and more. Once you block any features, they will be unable to select them from the menu on the main page.

Kindle-parental-controls

If you like to know the details of the books you read, the Book Extras feature will be something you’ll want to check out. In “Book Extras” you’ll see a “Plot Summary”, the “Characters” of the book, along with “Glossary” terms, and more. To view the Extras open a book and then tap the piece of paper icon. Tap “Book Extras” to see all the supplemental material about your favorite books and authors.

Kindle-book-extras

I’d love to hear what tips and tricks you have found using your Kindle Fire. Share them by leaving a comment!

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The Kno Textbook Tablet Previewhttp://www.maketecheasier.com/the-kno-textbook-tablet-preview/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/the-kno-textbook-tablet-preview/#comments Wed, 29 Dec 2010 13:00:30 +0000 http://maketecheasier.com/?p=26674 Almost every new tablet that has emerged in the iPad-dominated market has essentially been a direct competitor to the iPad, offering little, if any, basic usability advantages. It is for that reason that the Kno tablet stands out from the crowd. This tablet is being marketed to schools that are tired of dealing with the […]

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Kno Inc. logo for Kno tablet textbookAlmost every new tablet that has emerged in the iPad-dominated market has essentially been a direct competitor to the iPad, offering little, if any, basic usability advantages. It is for that reason that the Kno tablet stands out from the crowd. This tablet is being marketed to schools that are tired of dealing with the yearly fiasco of selling, renting, or even giving away textbooks. For many schools (both K-12 and higher education), the long-term savings and technological advantage may far outweigh the initial cost of the device.

The Kno comes in two versions: one traditional-looking tablet with a single color screen, and another with dual screens connected together to allow the tablet to open like a book. The screen, at 14.1 inches, is much larger than an iPad or Samsung Galaxy S, but that is most likely by design. It is, after all, intended for work, not play. Nevertheless, the ability to play is there, as it is fully web-connected for research or other browsing.

Kno tablet display

One of the most interesting features of the Kno tablet is not the hardware or software but the way in which it is being developed. Anyone can go to the project’s website and join the advisory panel to offer their input on development. They are particularly looking for educators and other thinkers who could be eventual customers. Furthermore, the operating system of the Kno is Ubuntu Linux with a Webkit-based interface. This means that all apps for the Kno are written in HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

The Kno gives students the ability to take notes with an included pen, right on the screen, and even make notes and annotations directly on their textbooks, highlighting key words, dropping in sticky notes, or circling important items. It also supports video playback in a variety of formats, including Adobe Flash player.

Kno tablet desktop with dual screens

Technical Specifications

Display:

  • 14.1 inch single or dual color LCD backlit glossy widescreen multi-touch displays
  • 1440×800 WXGA resolution
  • 262,144 colors
  • Anti-glare film screen with hard coat surface

Input:

  • Fingers and Pen stylus (for note taking)

Processor:

  • Nvidia Tegra T200 series CPU ( based on the Dual-core ARM Cortex -A9 MPCore) 1.0GHz

Memory:

  • 512 MB RAM

Storage:

  • 16 GB or 32 GB flash memory

OS:

  • Ubuntu 9.10

Other Hardware:

  • Micro USB
  • 3.5-mm stereo headphone jack
  • Microphone with active noise cancellation
  • Accelerometer – 3 Axis +/- 1.5 g
  • Ambient light sensor

Power:

  • DC power connector
  • 50.6 watt-hour lithium polymer battery (6 hours usage)

Wireless:

  • IEEE 802.11 b/g
  • Bluetooth 2.0+EDR technology

Software Features:

  • eReader
  • Note-Taking with a pen
  • PDF annotation – Web apps for Docs (Google Docs or Office Live)
  • Virtual keyboard
  • Built-in Webkit-based browser

Audo Playback:

  • AAC-LC, MP3, WMA 10, PCM/WAV (Ogg Vorbis support interestingly not listed)

Video Playback:

  • H.264 – 1080p, WMV9/VC-1 1080p, MPEG-4 – 1080p, JPEG up to 80 megapixel per second, HTML5 video, and Adobe Flash

Price:

  • Single Screen 16GB: $599 –  32GB: $699
  • Dual Screen 16GB $899 – 32GB: $999

Average cost of traditional textbooks:

  • $121

Average cost of Kno textbooks:

  • $63

Kno tablet dual-screen web and ereader

Pre-orders of the Kno have just started shipping to select customers. It will eventually be something that schools can purchase in bulk, distribute to students, and even allow the students to take home and use whenever they need it. The company behind Kno sees itself as an innovator hoping to change education, the way people learn and the way knowledge is used. This is a lofty goal, but it is definitely one that warrants attention. One thing I do Kno for sure is that this tablet will likely change the landscape of the tablet market for the better.

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Zazzle Custom iPad Case Reviewhttp://www.maketecheasier.com/zazzle-custom-ipad-case-review/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/zazzle-custom-ipad-case-review/#comments Mon, 13 Dec 2010 22:00:15 +0000 http://maketecheasier.com/?p=25688 There are seemingly infinite possible ways to protect your iPad while on the go. Whether you like the Apple style case or a standard sleeve, they’ve both got one thing in common: they’re pretty boring! This is where Zazzle.com comes in.  Zazzle.com gives its users the ability to create custom version of almost anything! From t-shirts to […]

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zazzle-logoThere are seemingly infinite possible ways to protect your iPad while on the go. Whether you like the Apple style case or a standard sleeve, they’ve both got one thing in common: they’re pretty boring! This is where Zazzle.com comes in.  Zazzle.com gives its users the ability to create custom version of almost anything! From t-shirts to coffee mugs, phone cases to iPad cases, the process is quick and easy. So what do you get for your money, and is it worth it? Read on for MakeTechEasier’s rundown on the process!

Design and Ordering Process

Ordering on Zazzle is a super easy process. For this review, I’ll do a quick walkthrough of the iPad case ordering process, although its very similar with all their products. (I’ve gotten business cards from them and its almost exactly the same, and have designed t-shirts with them, which is also basically identical in most aspects.)

First, head over to www.zazzle.com/custom/ipadcases. Here you’ll be greeted with some examples of what can be done when users are left to customize their own cases, as well as some information on the process. Click the “Create a case” button toward the right to get started.

zazzle-create-a-case

Once you click through to Zazzle’s iPad case design page, you’ll be greeted with a “Getting Started” window. This window will allow you to start by inserting the picture of your choice, or text of your choice, onto the case. You can always add more later, and once you have a few items on there, you can adjust their size, orientation, placement and more with the intuitive controls provided on the site.

zazzle-ipad-case-get-started

Keep in mind that in the case of images, you want to use as high a resolution as possible, that way if you decide to expand them a little during your design process you won’t have a problem with their appearance. If you do expand an image to the point where it may not look good in the final printing of the product, you’ll get little exclamations letting you know you may want to switch to a higher resolution image, or reduce the zoom of the image in your current design. The image below is an example of a design with a stretched out low-res image. See the exclamations?

zazzle-ipad-case-finished

Once you’re happy with the appearance of the case, just click the “Add to cart” button and follow through the standard checkout procedure. Shipping times vary depending on how much you spend, but I bought economy and it took about a week to arrive.  Not bad at all considering it’s custom made!

The Final Product

As for the final version of my iPad case, well, for the moment I couldn’t be happier. It’s very rigid, offering great protection against bending, and it barely adds any bulk to the iPad. In fact, I found it actually made gripping the iPad significantly easier, making reading and playing games significantly more enjoyable than before. It also does a great job of protecting against those little dents the aluminum backs of iPads tend to get over time.

One of the reasons though that the grip is so good is the material they use to make the custom designs. I’m not sure if it is some type of plastic or not, but it sure feels like fabric. This gives it a great grip, but also has lead to some concern for me. While I’m not seeing any problems yet (I’ve only been using it for a few days) I am concerned that if this is truly a fabric, as it feels to be, that anything white may tend to get dirty over time.  I’m hoping this is not the case, and will certainly be keeping you all informed as time goes on, but for now, its a perfect white, the graphics look fantastic, and the case protects as advertised!

zazzle-my-ipad-case

Have any of you ever made a custom case? What cases are you using now, if you’re using one  at all?  Is this something you’d be interested in? As always, let us know in the comments!

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5 Best Kindle Tips and Trickshttp://www.maketecheasier.com/5-best-kindle-tips-and-tricks/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/5-best-kindle-tips-and-tricks/#comments Sat, 16 Oct 2010 12:00:53 +0000 http://maketecheasier.com/?p=22928 I bought an Amazon Kindle some time back and posted an article about some of the basic tips and tricks all Kindle users should know about. Having used the Kindle for a while it is clear that while it’s book reading functions take precedence, its creators decided to imbue it with a number of features […]

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kindle-mainI bought an Amazon Kindle some time back and posted an article about some of the basic tips and tricks all Kindle users should know about. Having used the Kindle for a while it is clear that while it’s book reading functions take precedence, its creators decided to imbue it with a number of features that tip it into the realm of a “tablet PC”. While it clearly does not have the functionality of an iPad, the Kindle has a set of unique features that makes reading books just a little bit more enjoyable.

In this article I will provide an overview of some of the more interesting features the Kindle has to offer.

1. Browsing the Web

The Kindle was created with one function in mind: to read books. This means that doing anything, aside from reading books, is quite a chore. Nevertheless the Kindle does come with a handy web browser that can be used in a pinch. To launch the web browser press the Menu button on your Kindle.

Then select Experimental. From the Experimental menu select launch browser

Once the browser launches you will be presented with a number of pre-bookmarked web sites.

Selecting one of these launches the site immediately, or you can select Menu and Enter URL to browse to a web site not on the list.

As I have mentioned in my previous article, the Kindle uses a special display technology called E-Ink. This is great for reading as you are generally looking at a static page. However, for something with dynamic content, such as a web site, it makes navigations and usability difficult. Further, since the display is not touch-screen moving the cursor requires you to use the D-Pad. Nevertheless, as you can see the page itself looks relatively clear and there is no content that is hidden or blocked.

2. Turn Web page into Article Mode

There is one other useful trick that the Kindle’s browser has. If you browse to a website with a lot of articles (such as nytimes.com) you can use the “Article Mode” to read the article without any of the other distractions on the web site.

First, browse to the web site of your choice. Then use the Enter key to zoom into the section of the page which has the article you want to read. Once you have zoomed in select the article. Once the article has opened select Menu and select Article Mode.

This will reformat the article into a book format, allowing you to read through it as though it were another book on the Kindle.

3. Social Services

One of the most lauded features of the newer generation of Kindle’s is the ability to share what you are reading with the world. You are able to select a sentence or a passage of what you are reading and share it over Facebook or Twitter.

Firstly, you must connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts with the Kindle.  Select Menu and Settings and use the Next Page button to scroll to the third page and select manage.

This launches the web browser from where you must authenticate your Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Once you have connected your accounts with the Kindle you can select text inside any book you are reading and post it to your Facebook and Twitter account.

First, use the D-Pad to select the text you want to share.

Next, select the Alt and Enter key to share the text. This will open a small text box allowing you to input a small message of your choice.

You can now see the selected quote and your message displayed on your Facebook and Twitter profiles.

kindle-facebook

kindle-twitter

Clicking the custom amzn.com link displays the selected text.

kindle-amazonshare

This feature would be more useful if the title and author of the book was also displayed. Nevertheless, this is a good way of sharing a passage that is particularly interesting or striking.

4. Clippings

After selecting text, making notes within a book, or bookmarking a particular page you will find a My Clippings option on the home page of your Kindle.

All your notes are displayed here but the separation between the sections is not always clear and it is a little difficult to navigate your various clippings.

5. Searching a Book

A friend mentioned to me that she did not want to give up reading books because she loved the ability to flip through the pages. Unfortunately, this is impossible to do on a Kindle and at times it can be a problem if you need to jump to a certain section of a book. If the book is very long it can be a pain to use the Next/Previous buttons to jump through the pages.

To alleviate this problem Amazon uses the “Location” feature to allow jumping to sections of a book. If you look at the bottom of a book you can see the location points displayed.

kindle-locations

You can jump to a particular location in the book by selecting Menu and Go to…

In the message box you must enter the location number you want to jump to. Unfortunately, the Kindle keyboard does not come with any number keys so you will have to select the Sym key and select the numbers from the pop-up box.

This is the only method of jumping between sections of the book and unfortunately, it is not very specific. I will often have to flip through pages to find the part I was reading.

Conclusion

Amazon has refined the book reading features of the Kindle to the point where it is almost the perfect “E Ink” device, easily beating out its competitors. However, some of the features I have mentioned in this article attempt to keep it relevant in a world dominated by the iPad. There are still a number of features that the Kindle has to offer, so for all the Kindle users out there keep an eye out for another Kindle article.

Image credit: Yutaka Tsutano

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