Make Tech Easier » News 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 Is Leaving Mobile Devices Turned On During a Flight Really Dangerous?http://www.maketecheasier.com/mobile-devices-turned-on-during-flight/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/mobile-devices-turned-on-during-flight/#comments Mon, 07 Oct 2013 02:15:55 +0000 http://www.maketecheasier.com/?p=81422 Does leaving mobile devices on can really cause a hazard? Or is it a conspiracy theory that the authority leads you to believe?

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cell-phones-flightsSince 1966, when flying, you’ve been told to turn off your electronic devices during landing and takeoff. 1991 is when rules were put into place to specifically deal with mobile devices. However, with evolving technology and few real world examples of electronic devices interfering with cockpit controls or other conspiracy theories on the matter, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has concluded that passengers should be able to use electronic devices at all stages of a flight.

The FAA put together the Portable Electronic Devices Advisory and Rulemaking Committee that has studied the issue, including getting recommendations from over a dozen officials who believe that Wi-Fi in particular cannot during any portion of a flight cause an issue with on-board navigation. Earlier in 2013, several independent groups published reports suggesting that using Wi-Fi capable devices should be allowed between take-off and landing, but the FAA is taking that data, along with what it’s collected, and is taking it further by recommending there’s no issue with using Wi-Fi during an entire flight.

FAA-WiFi

The majority of airlines flying in the US fleet are capable of handling any issues that arise from a Wi-Fi capable device. This includes specific apps, devices and connection modes. The FAA believes that ground communication connections, such as voice and data streams, should still be turned off during flights. This has nothing to do with interference but with a Federal Communications Commission rule that prohibits any type of airborne-based cellular service in the United States. Other countries have similar laws in place.

wifi-on-plane

Several airlines across the globe have begun developing and testing Wi-Fi systems buil into planes that allow passengers access during a flight. While no system is 100% ready for launch below the landing and take-off limits, there is no doubt the FAA’s findings will help move the development along into a working system within the next year to help give passengers Wi-Fi service below the 10,000 threshold.

The earliest we could see the rules change on US-based flights would be 2014 according to the FAA.

Just because the FAA has released this data doesn’t mean that airlines or the industry as a whole have to adopt the policy. Whenever you board a flight, remember to always follow the instructions of your flight crew. If they ask you to turn off your computer, tablet or phone – even if you think it doesn’t matter – you are required by law to follow their directions.

For now, the FAA’s findings will need to be analyzed, researched further and then developed into a plan to potentially let passengers have access to Wi-Fi services from gate-to-gate. While passengers may not understand why it is such a big deal and haven’t for years on this issue, it’s important to realize that the FAA – and other aviation organizations around the world – are working to protect them from any harm that may come from electronic devices when flying.

Image Credit: Bild071, Wi-Fi on board and Cell Phone Kid

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Comparing Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5 in Drop Test; Who Wins?http://www.maketecheasier.com/galaxy-s4-and-iphone-5-drop-test/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/galaxy-s4-and-iphone-5-drop-test/#respond Mon, 29 Apr 2013 17:25:35 +0000 http://www.maketecheasier.com/?p=71268 Which do you think will win the drop test? the Galaxy S4 or the iPhone 5?

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S4iPhone5-smallThis is a debate that isn’t going to be easily resolved in one article. When it comes to comparing the Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5, they both have solid advantages and disadvantages, and they also both have their own diehard fans. The folks at Android Authority have their obvious favorite, yet decided to put the two phones to a drop test to see just who won out.

Those guys at Android Authority have been trying to win this war for Samsung for quite some time. When the iPhone 5 first came out, they dropped it in a comparison with the Galaxy S3 and “hated to admit it at the time,” but the iPhone was the clear winner in terms of quality and sturdiness.

The reason seems to be because of the use of plastic to surround the phone. While they tout the plastic surround for aiding in the accessibility of the removable battery and microSD slot, as well as being easier to replace if it’s cracked, it turns out it doesn’t do a whole lot to protect the phone. As they point out, it’s all tradeoffs, depending on what’s more important to you.

S4iPhone5-iPhone

With the Galaxy S4 now available, it was time to test it against the iPhone 5. The testers are going on the assumption that the three basic drops are from the hip while taking out of your pocket, from the chest while accessing features such as texting, and from the head from using the phone features. The Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5 were dropped separately from those three positions.

It turns out that the Galaxy S4 isn’t really any more durable than the S3. Both phones held up well when dropped from the pocket, with the iPhone 5′s aluminum casing suffering just a little damage cosmetically, and the S4 suffering no damage. When dropped form the chest, the results were the same. Again, the aluminum on the iPhone 5 was susceptible to the dings, while the plastic was unharmed.

However, the third drop for these two smartphones proved to be the deciding factor. When dropped from head level, as if losing control of it while talking on the phone, the iPhone still only had the most minor cosmetic damage. Yet, the Galaxy S4 received damage to the touch screen. At the point of impact, the corner, it was completely smashed, and while it did come apart upon impact, the phone remained usable.

Again, it’s a matter of tradeoffs, deciding which factors are most important to you in comparing the Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5. If you decide the other advantages of a Samsung Galaxy S4 make it worth it, here are just a few ways to help protect your device.

  • Get an extended warranty for your phone.
  • Buy a very durable case that will withstand drops.
  • Always treat your phone like it’s brand new and with the utmost of care.

Samsung might not be alone in this game much longer. Apple is rumored to be releasing a lower-cost iPhone soon, one that utilizes a plastic body. Maybe they’ll be able to figure out how to make a phone with a plastic body resistant to falling apart and cracking the screen.

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Start Button in Windows 8 to Return, But Without the Start Menuhttp://www.maketecheasier.com/start-button-in-windows-8-to-return-but-without-the-start-menu/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/start-button-in-windows-8-to-return-but-without-the-start-menu/#comments Tue, 23 Apr 2013 17:25:42 +0000 http://www.maketecheasier.com/?p=70785 The Start Button in Windows 8 was eliminated, and while Windows 8.1 is promising to bring back the Start Button, what about the Start Menu?

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StartButton-LogoEvery time an app or operating system receives improvements, there is always something left in the dust. Sure, the improvements are great, but to allow room for them, the developers have to drop something else. Windows is no different. The Start Button in Windows 8 was eliminated, as well as the Start Menu. Windows 8.1 is promising to bring back the Start Button, but without the Start Menu.

Users weren’t very happy about Microsoft dropping the Start Button in Windows 8, and just the fear of losing it was the basis for an entire article. Even more so than losing the Start Button was losing the Start Menu. This led to even more articles being written on how to simulate having it back.

This backlash is apparently causing Microsoft to rethink a few things. The first major update to the most recent version of the OS, 8.1, will bring back the Start button. It will lead to access to the Start Screen and is said to look much like the Windows flag in the Charm bar. It’s not the only change. A plan is also in place to add an option to boot directly to the desktop environment.

That’s all well and good, but what about the Start Menu? Microsoft has no plan to bring that back, at least not with 8.1. Getting the Start Button back without the Start Menu is almost like they’re teasing users. Is the Start Button even worth having without the Start Menu?

Fret not, though. There are still plenty of options out there to get the Start Menu back, whether or not Microsoft ever plans to do anything about it. Power8 not only gives you the Start Menu back, it allows you to tweak it to your liking. In addition to Power8, there are plenty of other options that will allow you access to a simulated StartMenu.

There’s no announced date yet for the release of Windows 8.1, but expect it later this year. Remember that the Start Button coming back is as the result of customer feedback. Users can make a difference. So how about it? Will you keep complaining until you get the Start Menu back, or will having just the Start Button in Windows 8 make a return be enough? Speak up in the comments section below.

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Why You Might Not See Facebook Home on iOS or Windowshttp://www.maketecheasier.com/why-you-might-not-see-facebook-home-on-ios/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/why-you-might-not-see-facebook-home-on-ios/#comments Wed, 17 Apr 2013 17:25:13 +0000 http://www.maketecheasier.com/?p=70285 Facebook Home, a launcher app, was made available to Android mobile devices. Read on to find out why it may never be available for iOS or Windows.

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FacebookHome-thumbFacebook is popping out with changes all over the place to all formats. It’s made changes to the online version of the social network seen on browsers and has also made changes to the apps for iOS and Android. Only one of these changes is truly exciting, and that’s the addition of Facebook Home. Yet, it’s only available on Android and not iOS or Windows Phone.

The main reason for Facebook Home to not be offered on the other platforms is that the Android OS is just more accessible, and that’s to both users and developers. This allowed for the development of Facebook Home, a launcher app. Use of the app gives users the ability to have an alternate homescreen and lock screen that allows for access to the Facebook features without having to open up an app or browser.

Apple doesn’t allow developers as much access to the OS. While Android allows developers access to create home or launcher apps, those same developers aren’t allowed to do the same for Apple. While some alternatives are indeed offered, they can’t be designated as permanent replacements, as Apple doesn’t allow for that.

FacebookHome-LockScreen

When Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was announcing Facebook Home, he even made references to this difference, seemingly slamming Apple, at least just a little bit. He noted that it’s not so easy to create apps like that for iOS, and that “ultimately anything that happens with Apple will be in partnership with them.” Not only would they have to have Apple’s consent to work on it, they’d have to work alongside them to have that type of access. Facebook faces similar issues in getting Facebook Home on Microsoft’s Windows Phone.

Despite this knowledge, fans of the iOS system were raised by Bloomberg as it reported that Facebook has been in talks with Apple and Microsoft to hopefully bring Home to those platforms as well. Facebook representatives admit, though, that Home might not be the same version being used on Android. It might just use pieces of Home, such as the lock screen or some of the design. Ultimately, how much of Android’s Home it uses would be up to Apple’s discretion.

FacebookHome-ChatHeads

Let’s hear what you think of Facebook Home on Android or the possibilities of it coming to iOS or Windows Phone. If you’ve used it, let us know if you think it’s a worthwhile launcher app. Does it “make tech easier” for you? If you have an iOS device or Windows Phone, are you waiting for launcher apps, and specifically Facebook Home, to be available? Speak up in the comments below.

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Blackberry Z10: Have They Really Had More Returns Than Sales?http://www.maketecheasier.com/blackberry-z10-have-they-really-had-more-returns-than-sales/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/blackberry-z10-have-they-really-had-more-returns-than-sales/#comments Sat, 13 Apr 2013 17:25:40 +0000 http://www.maketecheasier.com/?p=70037 Reports are stating that the BlackBerry Z10 return rates are higher than its sales. BlackBerry is disputing the report. Who's telling the truth?

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BlackBerryZ10-smallBlackBerry has been trying to forge a comeback. At one point it seemed to be the cellphone, the one everyone had to have. iPhones and Androids then buried it into a has-been. Now they’re trying to launch a comeback with the BlackBerry Z10, yet investment firm Detwiler Fenton is reporting that it’s not going so well, believing that they have had more returns than sales. How can that be? Simple math seems to refute that, and so does BlackBerry.

BlackBerry really wants a share of the smartphone wars, not content to let iPhone and Android have all the fun, but if reports are to be believed, it’s not going well. Detwiler analyst Jeff Johnston is quoted as saying, “We believe key retail partners have seen a significant increase in Z10 returns to the point where, in several cases, returns are now exceeding sales, a phenomenon we have never seen before.”

How do you sell something, but get even more of it returned? That just seems to defy simple elementary school math.

BlackBerryZ10-Horizontal

BlackBerry is not happy about this report at all. Reports like this are going to do nothing but harm to their potential sales. They plan on asking U.S. and Canadian regulators sometime within the next several days to probe the report by Detwiler Fenton. They find it to be both “false and misleading” and report that Detwiler refused to give them the report or explain how they determined the extremely high return rates.

Blackberry Chief Executive Thorsten Heins spoke up on behalf of the company, stating that the return rate statistics for the BlackBerry Z10 that they have seen are right in line or below what they had forecasted. “To suggest otherwise is either a gross misreading of the data or a willful manipulation. Such a conclusion is absolutely without basis, and BlackBerry will not leave it unchallenged.”

BlackBerryZ10-Vertical

These analysts that go over the technology industry trends usually seem to be right on the mark or fairly close. Obviously this is what has BlackBerry so upset. A highly respected group has come up with facts that could clearly hurt any future sales of the BlackBerry. If consumers know that there is a possibility of gross dissatisfaction with the Z10, they’ll be likely to skip over it and either look into the new Galaxy or wait a few months for the next iPhone.

Clearly both BlackBerry and Detwiler Fenton can’t be correct. For now it’s left to consumers to decide which company has the correct facts. And if they can’t decide, they’re likely just to skip out on buying the BlackBerry Z10 altogether. It’s not worth the trouble. Who do you think is telling the truth? Is BlackBerry overconfident about the success of their phone or is Detwiler exaggerating the stats on their report? And just how do you return more phones than were sold? Comment below with your thoughts.

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Smartphone Maps and Driving: Should This be Outlawed?http://www.maketecheasier.com/smartphone-maps-and-driving-should-this-be-outlawed/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/smartphone-maps-and-driving-should-this-be-outlawed/#comments Thu, 11 Apr 2013 17:25:21 +0000 http://www.maketecheasier.com/?p=69858 A motorist was fined for checking the maps app in his phone. Should smartphone maps be disabled when driving? Should checking maps when driving be illegal at all?

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MapsDriving-LogoDriving while texting has been discussed often, and it’s illegal to do so in many places, and sometimes it’s even against the law to talk on the phone while driving. This begs the question of what should be allowed on cell phones while operating a vehicle. At least some out there feel that a phone shouldn’t even be touched while driving. But what about smartphone maps and driving?

Obviously a maps app is put on a mobile phone to help you find your way. These apps are on there not so that we can take a bus or walk. They are there to help us drive. While we know we aren’t supposed to text and drive, and that some think we shouldn’t talk and drive (although most of us still do), it seems like when we want to know where our next turn is or if there is an alternate route, we should be able to check our maps app.

A motorist was stuck in a traffic jam recently and wanted to check if there were any alternate routes that would help him get moving again. He started checking out the maps on his phone, then was ordered to pull over by a police officer. He was ticketed for “distracted driving.” He fought it in court, explaining that if you can use a paper map in a car, you should be able to use a maps app. The judge decided that cell phones are a distraction no matter how they’re used.

MapsDriving-Routes

That leaves all of us uttering, “But … but … but …” It’s hard to even formulate a response. Even smartphone maps and driving should be against the law? It seems like it should be allowed.

The judge’s point was that anything that takes your eyes off the road is a distraction. This is true. But everything takes your eyes off the road. Changing a radio station, locking your doors, turning up air conditioning, opening a window, adjusting the rear and side-view mirrors, and yes, even reading a paper map. Forget trying to fold it up again while you’re driving. Why are other things worse just because they involve a smartphone?

Ideally that’s why cars are now being manufactured with many of the controls on the steering wheel and column, to keep your eyes where they belong. Ideally that’s why Siri and other voice control apps exist so that we can ask for it verbally and not have to take our eyes off the road. That’s why turn-by-turn navigation is necessary in map apps, so that the app can tell us where to turn and so we don’t have to look.

MapsDriving-Turn

But as smart as our smartphones are, they will never be as logic as we are. I don’t want the phone choosing my route all the time, as oftentimes they can be wrong. Sure, I should have examined it before I left, but if I do get stuck in a traffic jam. I want to know if the route I asked Siri for will avoid the traffic jam. Siri doesn’t know that. I would know from looking. And if I’m in a traffic jam, I’m not moving anyway.

Now that this distracted driving debate is being expanded to include smartphone maps and driving, it’s clear it’s not a closed topic. There are good arguments on both sides, but the perfect solution seems to be that it should be allowed some of the time, but not all of the time, yet laws don’t function that way. What do you think? Should maps apps be allowed while driving or should phones not be touched at all at any time by someone operating a vehicle?

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Is It Time to Give Website Forums Their Last Rites?http://www.maketecheasier.com/is-it-time-to-give-website-forums-their-last-rites/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/is-it-time-to-give-website-forums-their-last-rites/#comments Mon, 08 Apr 2013 17:25:14 +0000 http://www.maketecheasier.com/?p=69552 With the onset of social networking, use of the old website forums has waned. A new startup, Moot, wants to put them to use again, but is it too late?

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Forums-LogoMost websites used to operate basically the same. There was a main index, categories containing the individual articles, ads, maybe a few widgets on the side, and a forum. Readers could either comment directly on posts, or they could head to a forum area that discussed all topics covered on the website. But with the onset of social networking, use of the old website forums has definitely waned. A new startup, Moot, wants to make forums useful again, but is it too late, and is there even a need anymore?

Moot isn’t taking this job lightly, having spent over three years in development. The developers were rebuilding the Flowplayer site and couldn’t find the right forum for that site, so they decided to build their own.

Moot allows for more flexibility and combinations between commenting and forums and types of comments and forums. Additionally, to add it into your site, you only need to copy and paste a code. Anyone familiar with adding a phpBB forum to their site knows how much of a benefit that is. What really seems to make a difference with Moot, though, is in the way it emulates the social networking discussions. You can create your own feed of just the conversations you’re following, whether it be from article comments or forum discussions.

Forums-Feed

However, the question remains if this is too little, too late for the idea of forums. There was a time when friendships were born amidst the setting of a forum among people with common interests. Those people seem to have moved on, though, and have moved their relationships to Facebook, setting up groups there. Forums aren’t a necessity for users. They don’t need a forum anymore.

It’s the websites that need the forum. Not for people to have somewhere to post, as that can be done with a Facebook page dedicated to the site. But once you send readers to Facebook to enjoy discussion, they’ve already left your site. Once they’re on Facebook and commenting there, they stay on Facebook checking out their news feed and messages. You’ve lost them from your site, at least from that session. To run a successful site, you need to keep readers there as long as you can.

Forums-Comments

Taking forums to the next level and adding some social network benefits into them is a great idea for a website. If they can add in the same benefits of a Facebook or Twitter, there’s a chance that maybe there will be a new evolution of forums on the horizon.

Do you still use website forums? Or is it enough to just have me ask you to comment below? How would all of this change your user experience?

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Using Your Brainwaves to Trigger the “Do-Not-Disturb” Feature: Helpful or Intruding?http://www.maketecheasier.com/using-brainwaves-to-trigger-do-not-disturb/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/using-brainwaves-to-trigger-do-not-disturb/#respond Fri, 05 Apr 2013 17:25:05 +0000 http://www.maketecheasier.com/?p=69427 Apple's iOS rolled out a feature last year called Do Not Disturb that allows you to set it up to prevent calls during certain times of the day. It might not stop there. Neuroscientist Ruggero Scorcioni debuted a new automatic do-not-disturb technology via a smartphone app at an AT&T event this week. Is this going to be helpful or intruding?

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donotdisturb-mainApple’s iOS rolled out a feature last year called Do Not Disturb that allows you to set it up to prevent calls during certain times of the day. It might not stop there. Neuroscientist Ruggero Scorcioni debuted a new automatic do-not-disturb technology via a smartphone app at an AT&T event this week.

Scorcioni’s technology measures your brain activity using a standard headset that works with your phone via Bluetooth. If your activity rises to a certain level, the app will hold calls for you. He promises that it could also be used to hold email notifications and other phone activity until your brain isn’t so busy.

At first thought, this automatic do-not-disturb technology seems great and like it would be an extreme help. But then, the more thought that is given to it, it starts to seem somewhat intruding. We’re adults and have moved beyond having someone tell us when we can and when we can’t do something.

donotdisturb-brainwave

Additionally, some of us have Type A personalities and welcome interruptions even though we’re working really hard. Or at least some interruptions. I don’t want the interruptions of the notifications of junk mail that I get, but I do want work-related email notifications. I do want to get email notifications from my family. I do want to know if someone is commenting on something on my Facebook, but I do not want the notifications inviting me yet again to Farmville to interrupt me.

While it’s great that this technology is smart enough to pick up our brainwaves and to know when we’re working hard or hardly working, it needs to be smart in other ways as well. It needs to be able to be set to allow certain interruptions, just as iOS’ Do Not Disturb feature does. Yet it needs to go beyond just withholding certain people in our address book and working during certain times of the day. It also needs to allow interruptions from some apps, but not others, and from some Facebook notifications, but not others.

DoNotDisturb-Rules

What do you think about the automatic do-not-disturb feature measuring your brainwaves to know when it should allow you to keep working? Would you welcome this app on your phone or would it be something that you wouldn’t even bother to download? Let us know in the comments below how you feel about Ruggero Scorcioni’s new technology.

Images credit: By Glogger (Own work), Do Not Disturb

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40 Years of Cell Phones: Have they Changed Your Life?http://www.maketecheasier.com/40-years-of-cell-phones-have-they-changed-your-life/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/40-years-of-cell-phones-have-they-changed-your-life/#respond Thu, 04 Apr 2013 07:40:21 +0000 http://www.maketecheasier.com/?p=69371 The first cell phone call was placed in 1973. How have these forty years of cell phones changed our lives?

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40Years-cell-phoneIt may be hard to believe, but this week we celebrate forty years of cell phones. The first cell phone call was placed in 1973, but these devices didn’t begin to change our lives until the last ten to fifteen years. Think of how different our lives would be today had former Motorola Vice President and division manager Martin Cooper not made that first call on a cell phone while standing on Sixth Avenue in front of the New York Hilton.

Cooper touched something off with that call, even if it did take several years before they began to impact all of our lives. He was using Motorola’s DynaTAC handset. It was so different than the Androids and iPhones that we use today that it weighed over two pounds. It certainly didn’t fit in Cooper’s pocket, and there was no talk of how big the screen was or the resolution of the camera. It was just a phone, and a big one at that.

Even Cooper is surprised at all the changes that have been made to cell phones over these forty years, yet he sees all these additional things added to cell phones as “essentially useless.” He beleives all the things today’s cell phone can do can be done much more effectively elsewhere. This is true, but you still can’t beat the convenience.

40Years-Cooper

In these forty years of cell phones, they have gone from huge devices meant solely for making and receiving calls on-the-go to pocket-sized devices that can do nearly everything a computer can do. While Cooper is thinking that all of these things on a cell phone are “essentially useless,” I’m thinking of how all these things have changed my life.

I don’t have to worry about carrying a camera to special events. I always have one with me on my iPhone. If I’m out shopping and want to buy something, but I’m not sure how much money is left in the checking account, I can check that on a bank app. While I’m waiting at a doctor’s office, I don’t have to read their magazines; I can either get work done or read my own magazine on my iPhone. I know where my kids are, because we keep in touch via our cell phones. And I don’t have to go as far as to call someone every time I want them to know just a little thing that just occurred to me. I can text them instead.

40Years-Samsung

I went out to dinner one night last week and forgot to bring my phone. I noticed it within five minutes of being gone, but didn’t want to go back for it. I didn’t want it just in case someone called. I wanted to be able to text the people we were meeting up with to tell them we’d be late. I wanted it to snap some pictures of the gathering. I wanted to check my calendar for appointments for the following week and wanted to check my email. I was lost without it.

In these forty years of cell phones, they have completely changed my life, and I think they have changed most others as well and become more than just a phone with features that aren’t “essentially useless.” What do you think? Have cell phones changed your life or do you mainly just use it as a phone and see all the other options as useless?

Martin Cooper image source: By 2007Computex_e21Forum-MartinCooper.jpg: Rico Shen derivative work: PowellS

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Bored on Hold? Apple Patent Could Fix Thathttp://www.maketecheasier.com/bored-on-hold-apple-patent-could-fix-that/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/bored-on-hold-apple-patent-could-fix-that/#respond Wed, 03 Apr 2013 17:25:18 +0000 http://www.maketecheasier.com/?p=69212 We've all been in that position before. You're in the middle of a call, and you're put on hold. You only expect it to take a few seconds, but before you know it, you've been on hold forever, or at least it seems like it. With a smartphone in your hand, though, especially an iPhone, you shouldn't ever be bored.

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ApplePatent-thumbIt seems like in the last few months that Apple has been applying for a lot of patents. Technology news seems to feature a new one every week. They’re all interesting and very innovative, but the latest seems to be the most useful. The latest Apple patent shows the technology for an iPhone displaying useful and adaptive information while the user is on hold.

We’ve all been in that position before. You’re in the middle of a call, and you’re put on hold. You only expect it to take a few seconds, but before you know it, you’ve been on hold forever, or at least it seems like it. You want to hang up, but are sure the person you are calling will be back any minute. With a smartphone in your hand, though, especially an iPhone, you shouldn’t ever be bored.

Apple has been granted a patent that they refer to as a “Communications system that provides user-selectable data when user is on hold.” Because it’s selected by the user and adaptable, it can be either information to kill time or information that directly relates to the call you’re on.

ApplePatent-Fig3

The suggestions for this information include weather reports, local news, upcoming calendar events, and unchecked messages. Music is even a suggested option. How many times have you wished you could listen to your own music instead of the canned music playing while you’re on hold? It can even make it adaptive to give you information directly related to the caller you are connected with, such as your last correspondence with that person, your upcoming meetings with that person, etc. It goes even further than that, though, as the system will pick up contextual clues from your conversation to know what type of data to offer to you.

This would work along with the call waiting system. You would create a profile that includes the information you would like displayed when you’re on hold. When the system determines you’re on hold, or when you alert your phone that you’re on hold, the Apple patent shows that the data you have chosen would pop up on the screen.

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It all sounds really great, but where this Apple patent might come into problems is in offering you information about the caller. Some private individuals are already upset about information that is shared about them on the Info Highway, and this would certainly have some upset. People are often worried that details such as their financial information could be culled and used, and any time a device has smart knowledge about them it causes them to balk.

However, it’s hard to hold back technology once it’s out there. If this ends up being a patent that Apple acts on and uses, it could be something that spreads beyond just iPhones and could be used on other smartphones, as it’s that innovative. It could even be used by businesses such as doctors’ offices. They seem to put you on hold automatically anyway, and now when they do, they would know who you are, when you’re next appointment is, when you were in last, any recent tests you had done, etc.

There doesn’t seem to be an end to the possibilities of this adaptive on-hold system. What do you think of this latest Apple patent? Would you be upset with your information displaying on someone’s phone when you put them on hold or would you welcome this intrusion? Let us know below in the comment section.

a business man using a mobile phone by BigStockPhoto

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Pandora vs iRadio: Who Will Win The Internet Radio Business?http://www.maketecheasier.com/pandora-vs-iradio-who-will-win-the-internet-radio-business/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/pandora-vs-iradio-who-will-win-the-internet-radio-business/#respond Mon, 01 Apr 2013 17:25:49 +0000 http://www.maketecheasier.com/?p=69116 Apple is reportedly gearing up to launch their own service later this year. iRadio will be similar to what we already have, but will probably keep us on iTunes and not have us leaving it to listen to streaming music. How will it affect the ways we listen to music?

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InternetRadio-PandoraWe don’t really think about it normally, but there’s a huge business behind Internet Radio. It looks like Pandora and iRadio may end up fighting over our business, and with the existing success of Pandora and the behemoth that Apple is, it could end up being a monumental fight. You may want to set your chair out now to reserve your spot in line for this fight.

It looks like soon both Pandora and iRadio will be offering an Internet radio music streaming service. Pandora has been on the scene since 2000, offering music for free. It offers recommendations based on the music it knows you enjoy. Sometimes it works really well, where you happen upon great suggestions, and other times it happens upon suggestions that have you hitting the forward button too often. Nevertheless, it’s become extremely popular and has spawned similar services such as Spotify.

Apple wants in on this. It’s not enough for them to have the most popular download service with iTunes. They want more. They want to also be our source for Internet radio. They are reportedly gearing up to launch their own service later this year. iRadio will be similar to what we already have, but will probably keep us on iTunes and not have us leaving it to listen to streaming music. Because it’s being launched by Apple, it’s bound to be successful, that is if we ignore their efforts with Ping.

InternetRadio-iTunes

Who’s the winner here, other than us? That answer would be the music labels. It’s been a concern for quite some time that the music industry could be in danger because of the growing lack of physical media. However, Pandora accounted for twenty-five percent of the labels’ revenue last year, and Pandora is trying to lower that royalty fee it pays from the 12 cents it currently pays per one hundred songs. This is despite them already paying less than others, with Spotify being treated like the redheaded stepchild, paying 35 cents per one hundred songs.

Apple must be figuring that the record labels will welcome them into the fold eagerly, as they are offering to pay the labels 6 cents per one hundred songs. They’re going to hurt Pandora one way or another. They’re going to be stealing away at least some of Pandora’s business. Additionally, they could end up in a dispute over fairness of different companies paying different royalties, and it could end up before Congress with the Internet Radio Fairness Act.

InternetRadio-Spotify

As consumers, it won’t hurt us one bit. It will only add to our choices. Pandora, Spotify, and all other slightly different services. I turn on whichever one is going to give me what I want at that current moment. iRadio is going to be no different and will just offer us another choice, no matter what royalties they’re paying. There’s really no way for iRadio to not be a success.

Are you an Internet radio listener? What’s your favorite service? Will Pandora and iRadio will end up competing for your business? Who will win?

ON AIR

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The New Google Chat Service: Do We Need Another One?http://www.maketecheasier.com/do-we-need-another-google-chat-service/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/do-we-need-another-google-chat-service/#comments Sun, 31 Mar 2013 17:25:06 +0000 http://www.maketecheasier.com/?p=68956 Later this year a new Google chat service will be introduced. More and more details are beginning to emerge about the service, but do we need more chatting?

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Later this year, a new Google chat service will be introduced. More and more details are beginning to emerge about the service, ahead of the expected unveiling at the annual Google I/O Developers Conference. Do we really need yet another chat service?

This new Google Chat service will have the name of Babel, although it was previously being identified as Babble. Babble might have been an easier one to pass through, however, as there is already a site with the name of Babel that allows chatting internationally. That’s going to get very confusing, although there is no current trademark on the name.

The new Babel chat will unify all chat services under Google. Instead of having different features and abilities from Google product to Google product, such as Google+, Gmail, Google Drive, etc., it will all be one unified service. Additionally, it will work seamlessly across platforms, whether it’s Chrome, Android, or iOS.

GoogleChat-Gmail

The features of Babel will allow you to access the same conversation from anywhere and will have a new conversation-based UI. There will be advanced group conversations with notifications across all devices. It will also allow you to send pictures within the chat.

This all sounds great, but do we really need yet another chatting service? We have Skype, Oovoo, Facebook, and a whole host of other apps and services, each with a slightly different feature set, allowing you peruse documents, draw on a whiteboard, talk via live video, etc. So with all of that, why do we need yet another service?

GoogleChat-Talk

The answer seems to be in what Google has planned. Google, no different than any of the other big tech companies, seems to be trying to keep their users from straying to different companies, apps, or services. If a user is checking out their mail in Gmail, then decides to enter into a chat, they want to keep the user there on Google. They don’t want them going to Skype, Facebook, etc.

Of course we don’t need yet another chat service. But Google needs us to stay with their products and not go elsewhere. Because they’re Google, they know we’ll at least try out their chat service. And for anyone who is already using their existing chat services, they’ll of course stick with this one as well. It’s not a service that’s needed. It’s just one that is going to get used whether we need it or not.

Will you have a use for the new Google Chat service or will you just stick with your existing chat services regardless? Chime in below in the comments area and let us know what you think.

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Apple iPhone: Why Is It the Most Hacked Mobile Device?http://www.maketecheasier.com/apple-iphone-why-is-it-the-most-hacked-mobile-device/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/apple-iphone-why-is-it-the-most-hacked-mobile-device/#respond Sat, 30 Mar 2013 01:10:28 +0000 http://www.maketecheasier.com/?p=68935 While Apple has been trying all their means to prevent people from jailbreaking and hacking of their device, it is not surprising to know that the iPhone is the most hacked mobile device around. They question is... why?

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MostHacked-iPhone-smallThe hacking of mobile devices has been going on for quite some time, at least as long as they’ve had Apple iPhones. The iPhone was revolutionary, yet still had people clamoring for more. They eagerly started jailbreaking the iPhone just to get even more out of it. Yet, even though the iPhone is no longer so widely regarded as revolutionary, it’s still the most hacked mobile device … by far.

Source Fire, a web security company issued a report, “25 Years of Vulnerabilities.” It searches for the Critical Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) of different software and mobile devices. This report found that the iPhone had 210 detected CVEs, while the Android only had 24. Yet, as far as numbers go, the Android is the closest to the iPhone in number of CVEs.

In terms of popularity, however, Android and iPhone are fairly close and nearly equal, depending on which poll you choose to follow. Why the disparateness? What is it about the iPhone that makes it so desirable to be hacked, leaving it as the most hacked mobile device?

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There are a few different reasons for the Apple iPhone to be so vulnerable. One of these reasons is the extreme success of the company. Apple was the top company on Wall Street for quite some time. This factor alone makes them extremely vulnerable. Everyone wants to bring down the top dog. There’s a certain pleasure in being able to say that they aren’t so tough as you cracked their code.

It seems like the more Apple keeps their wares and knowledge locked up, the more vulnerable they become. Apple is always so secretive, from their technology to their products to their releases. Conversely, Android features an open platform, meaning they there are no secrets. It’s just not as fun to hack them. There’s no challenge.

MostHacked-iPhone

Of course jailbreaking a mobile device isn’t the only reason they are hacked. They’re also hacked to steal information. Think of the information you have stored on your phone. Everything from text messages to pictures to your address book to saved documents. It can all be found on your phone, and if your phone is easily hacked, so is all of your precious information.

This means if you have an Apple iPhone, your precious data is that much more vulnerable just by virtue of the brand of device you own. It’s not because the iPhone isn’t safe; it’s just because of the extreme success of the company and because they themselves are so secretive. It makes all your info vulnerable.

Does this change your mind about having an iPhone? Will the knowledge of it being the most hacked mobile device make you buy an Android or other brand of mobile phone? Speak up and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Image Source: Business Insider, iPhone Disassembled

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Insync: A Google Drive Alternative Emerges From Betahttp://www.maketecheasier.com/insync-a-google-drive-alternative-emerges-from-beta/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/insync-a-google-drive-alternative-emerges-from-beta/#respond Wed, 27 Mar 2013 01:50:07 +0000 http://maketecheasier.com/?p=68668 Insync is out of beta and offering itself us as a Google Drive alternative at a one-time only price of $9.99 per Google account.

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Insync-LogoIs Google Drive just not enough for you? You might not be alone, and you also might be in luck. Insync, not to be confused with the boy band NSYNC, is out of beta and offering itself up as a Google Drive alternative on both the Mac and Windows platforms.

Insync was originally “Dropbox for Google users.” This was back when Google Drive was still Google Docs. Once Google relaunched Google Docs as a Dropbox-like client and renamed it Google Drive, Insync made some adjustments of their own. They decided to compete directly with Google Drive and offer functions lacking with the Google service.

Co-founder and CEO Terence Pua states that they started asking users what they needed and found they were looking for “multiple account support and being able to watch any folder outside of the Insync folder’s location.” Designed for power users, it also offers built-in sharing, permissioning, better onboarding, and selective syncing of folders and files. Additionally, users can keep their own folder hierarchy.

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But the best part is the pricing. The Insync Pro Plan offers a 15-day free trial, with no credit card and a one-time fee of $9.99 per Google account. A business edition price will be released in a few weeks, and that will include an admin dashboard and centralized billing.

For my own needs right now, I don’t need what Insync is offering. Yet I’m sure there are plenty of power users who do. For my own personal needs, I use a combination of cloud storage services. I have a few things stored in Google Drive that are shared with other users. I store all my articles and things I want to remember in Evernote, and I have all of my iPad files backed up to Dropbox. However, I did try it out with my Make Tech Easier Google account, and I have to say I like how it added a folder with all my MTE Google Drive files to the sidebar of my Finder folder.

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I do like the price of Insync, though. Services like Evernote charge their power users monthly, and services like Dropbox and Google Drive are free. Here’s a service offering a one-time fee of just under $10. However, I have four Google accounts. Suddenly $40 isn’t as attractive. What I really like, though is that you aren’t required to leave a credit card number for the trial. I hate trial periods where I have to leave my credit card number, as I know I’m the type to forget to go back and cancel. I appreciate not having to use my credit card until after the free trial is done.

Cloud storage is just in its infancy. It’s only just beginning. There are bound to be other services and companies that will come along and do it better than Google Drive, Evernote, and Dropbox. Each of them offers cloud storage just a little differently than the other. It’s all a matter of finding the right service or combination of services for your needs.

Will you be giving Insync a try? Does what they are offering appeal to you? Let us know in the comments below.

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Yahoo! Don’t Count Them Out Just Yethttp://www.maketecheasier.com/yahoo-dont-count-them-out-just-yet/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/yahoo-dont-count-them-out-just-yet/#comments Tue, 26 Mar 2013 01:57:50 +0000 http://maketecheasier.com/?p=68539 Yahoo! seems to have plans to come back from the almost-dead. In just the last couple of days they have made two really interesting acquisitions. Will it get back to what we hope it will be?

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Yahoo-LogoIn the younger days of the Internet, Yahoo! was a major player. It was a search engine, email provider, managed groups, and more. Somehow, though, the services it provided have fallen by the wayside. Google seemed to do all that and more and Yahoo! was left in the dust. New CEO Marissa Mayer seems to have plans for the company to bring it back from the almost-dead. In just the last couple of days, they have made two really interesting acquisitions.

Last week Yahoo! acquired Jybe, a social recommendation company. The two-year-old company was begun by individuals who were previously employed by Yahoo! The purpose of Jybe was to connect people and their physical world by making recommendations of restaurants, media, etc. They had an iPhone app, but that will be shut down now.

Just a few days later, Yahoo! is now announcing yet another acquisition. It has now acquired Summly, a news gathering and delivery service. It, too, is already an app. What makes it interesting is that the founder of Summly is just 17 years old, yet it’s a worthy enough company to have attracted Yahoo!

Yahoo-Summly

Yahoo! obviously has plans for something, but what is it planning with a news gathering and delivering service and another service that makes lifestyle suggestions, two services that were previously apps?

There are two different directions Yahoo! could be moving in. One would be that they have realized they missed the boat the first time around, and while Google swept in and eliminated them from the competition, they moved on to become even more, much more than just an Internet search company. Perhaps Yahoo! sees their mistakes now and wants another crack at it.

Yahoo-site

Or Yahoo! could be going in an Apple direction. They like to acquire small companies and apps then somehow make them into major functions of their service. A few years back Apple acquired Siri, shut the app down, and turned the service into one of their major functions in their iPhone with plans to put it in cars well. Whatever it is that Yahoo! is planning, they’re also being secretive about it, like Apple as well.

Many people have discarded their use of Yahoo!, moving on to Google and other services. At one point it was the service everyone looked to for free Internet-based email, but many of those yahoo.com accounts have been ditched in favor of Gmail. Maybe it’s time to dust off those old Yahoo! email accounts while we wait to see what it has planned.

What do you think of Yahoo’s recent acquisitions and what are you hoping Yahoo! has planned? Speak out in the comments section below.

Image credit: By grahamhills

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A Smart Touchscreen That Can Distinguish Between Usershttp://www.maketecheasier.com/smart-touchscreen-that-can-distinguish-between-users/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/smart-touchscreen-that-can-distinguish-between-users/#respond Mon, 25 Mar 2013 22:25:02 +0000 http://maketecheasier.com/?p=68391 What if there were a touchscreen that knew that difference between users? A smart touchscreen called the Touché is being developed aims to do all this.

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Books and tablet pcAll this talk of the passcode problems with iPhones and similar with Samsungs might be all for naught. What if you didn’t have to go through such measures because your phone had a touchscreen that knew that difference between you and any other person touching it? A smart touchscreen is being developed that can discriminate between users.

Disney Research has built a device called the Touché that has a touchscreen that sends harmless currents through a user’s body. It measures a unique signature of the physiological differences produced by the “differences in the body’s impedance of that current.”

The current flows from the sensor board of the device through the electronics that use indium tin oxide into the user’s body. The sensor board then measures the unique impedance at multiple frequencies. Once it’s calibrated to a user, it can recognize them in five-hundred milliseconds.

Touchscreen-Tech

The plans for this technology and the device are still in development and top secret, but do include commercialization. The though is that this technology could be applied to other objects other than touchscreens, such as a doorknob as you enter your home or the door handle of your vehicle. Think if your home and car knew who you were. No one would be allowed into either who wasn’t an invited guest. What if you could place something similar on your credit card?

Since it’s such a new technology, it’s hard to know what the disadvantages would be, yet there aren’t many that come to mind. I’m dealing with dry, peeling hands at the moment and have to wonder how that would affect much usage of a smart touchscreen. Would the screen not recognize me? Would I be locked out of my devices?

Touchscreen-reflect

There is a face recognition technology currently that some devices use. People found a way to circumvent it and began using photos to gain access to the device. Yet there’s a way to block that by forcing the device to use a video instead of just a picture. This smart touchscreen seems as if it would improve on that and be hard to bypass.

No matter how you look at it, it seems like a smart touchscreen would be a safer and more effective method than using a four-digit passcode. While it might keep out your 4-year-old, if someone wants to break into your device badly enough, they would be able to find a way. The smart touchscreen seems a wiser choice.

What method do you currently use to prevent others from using your device? Would you welcome a smart touchscreen? Post your thoughts in the comments below.

Image Source: popsci.com, Books And Tablet Pc by BigStockPhoto

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Google’s Driverless Car: Scary Ride or Hot Wheels?http://www.maketecheasier.com/googles-driverless-car-scary-ride-or-hot-wheels/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/googles-driverless-car-scary-ride-or-hot-wheels/#respond Mon, 25 Mar 2013 03:25:48 +0000 http://maketecheasier.com/?p=68350 Google's Driverless Car is exactly what it sounds like. It's a car that drives itself, without a driver steering, braking, or accelerating.

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Driverless-LogoThose smart folks at Google have been working on this one for awhile. Not only do they somehow appear in every aspect of our Internet experience, they want to follow us out on the road as well. Google’s Driverless Car is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a car that drives itself, without a driver steering, braking, or accelerating.

A journalist with Forbes had the chance to ride in a prototype of Google’s Driverless Car. They weren’t just cruising around a parking lot or a quiet cul-de-sac, either. They hopped on a busy highway in Silicon Valley.

The “non-driver” behind the wheel of the car is the leader of the driverless car project with Google. It was in a Lexus RX450h that was equipped with a $65,000 laser sensor on the roof, radar sensors in the front and rear bumpers, a high-def camera on the windshield, and a high-def camera focused on the passengers. There’s a computer stored in the rear of car. But is this enough technology to keep you safe and get you from point A to point B?

Driverless-Google

The car is able to track cars around it and even tracks other vehicles such as motorcycles. The data showed that one of the cars was following too closely. Once a driver in the car in the next lane over on the highway tried to grab his hat from the passenger seat, his car drifted across the lane marker, and the Google car slowed down to prevent contact. A truck pulled in front of them, and as traffic slowed, so did the Google car. This was all with no help from the human driver.

However, the car isn’t quite ready to enter and exit the freeway, so the “driver” turned the system off and took control of the car. They’re currently working to perfect the single-lane highway driving and hope someday that the car can handle any type of road conditions. Currently, before the car can drive any route, the engineers have to gather data about it by driving it themselves.

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The other limitations include heavy rain, snow, a stalled vehicle over a hill, and debris on the road. It’s these limitations, that even if they were not marked as limitations, would make driving this vehicle a little frightening. As cool as it is, it would be hard to give up complete control. That’s why we get into accidents, those unforeseen events that happen. The only way this will ever work in the future is if the car is able to react on its own to anything that it is up against, and even with that, it will still be difficult to give up that control.

I clamor to pick up every new electronic gadget I can find, but this is one that might be pushing the safety envelope so much, that I don’t know if I could ever do it. How about you? Would you sit in Google’s Driverless Car while they’re working out the kinks? Would you sit in it in the future after it is road-ready? Speak up in the comments below.

Image Sources: mercurynews.com, forbes.com, engadget.com

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Apple Adds Two-Step Verification to Apple ID Processhttp://www.maketecheasier.com/apple-adds-two-step-verification-to-apple-id-process/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/apple-adds-two-step-verification-to-apple-id-process/#respond Sat, 23 Mar 2013 03:25:12 +0000 http://maketecheasier.com/?p=68279 Your content in iCloud just got a little safer if you choose to make it so. Apple has added a two-step verification to their Apple IDs.

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TwoStep-LogoYour content in iCloud just got a little safer. Or at least it can be if you choose to make it safer. Apple has added a two-step verification to their Apple IDs. You won’t always be required to follow both steps, only if you’re accessing your Apple ID from a different device.

Apple found themselves in hot water last year when a Wired reporter’s Apple ID was hacked into, and his iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Air were all remotely wiped. The hacker was able to get Apple’s tech support to let him take control of the reporter’s devices, bypassing the security questions.

iCloud security has been in question since that event last year, and Apple is now adding two-step verification to help guard against such things happening again. You will need to register all your devices, then any time you sign in to your Apple account or make an iTunes or app purchase from a device that isn’t registered, you’ll need to enter your Apple ID password and a four-digit verification code.

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You won’t be forced into using two-step verification; it’s entirely optional, at least for now. The advantage is obvious. Safety and security. Additionally, you won’t need to remember answers to security questions anymore. You can go ahead and forget who your second grade teacher was. The downside is of course that you now have to remember a verification code instead of who your second grade teacher was.

What worries me about this two-step verification is that the Apple ID doesn’t always work. I’ve had my problems with it in the last year when I try to buy an app or download something from iTunes. It doesn’t always happen, just sometimes, and seems to be a glitch with Paypal. When I ditch Paypal and pay with a credit card, it will work. Then I have to reset it all again back to my Paypal.

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But that’s the rub. It’s just a glitch, but it’s a glitch in a one-step verification process. Will there be glitches in this two-step verification process? And now it won’t be just when you’re purchasing something. It will be with everything you have that is stored in iCloud. That’s not a place for glitches.

My recommendation is that while this is a great step for Apple and a move in the right direction, this is too new and too important to jump into right away. It seems better to just stick with the one-step verification until more is known about the two-step. Wait and find out if others report any problems with it. You can find out more about it at Apple.

What do you think of Apple utilizing the two-step verification? Is it about time or are you cautious of it as well? Let us know by commenting below.

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The Numbers Behind Cybercrime – 18 Victims Per Second, And You Could Be One Of Themhttp://www.maketecheasier.com/the-numbers-behind-cybercrime/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/the-numbers-behind-cybercrime/#respond Fri, 22 Mar 2013 01:50:45 +0000 http://maketecheasier.com/?p=68046 Are you aware of the threats that exist against you when you're online? Cybercrime is a bigger threat than you might imagine. Just as our time online is increasing, the threats against us when we're online are increasing as well.

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Norton-thumbAre you aware of the threats that exist against you when you’re online? Cybercrime is a bigger threat than you might imagine. Just as our time online is increasing, the threats against us when we’re online are increasing as well.

Norton, the same company we count on to protect us against viruses and malware, published its yearly report examining cybercrime. It’s definitely an eye opener to be sure, as it shows how many are affected by cybercrime as well as how many don’t even know they are leaving themselves open to being hit.

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Just take a few moments to run the stats from the image above through your mind. 556 million cybercrime victims a year. It’s such an astounding number it makes you wonder how it’s even possible. 18 victims per second. In just the minute that it has taken you to read to this point of the article, there have been around 1000 victims of cybercrime.

It may seem like not a very big deal, as it’s not like these crimes measure up to murder and rape. Yet there are still victims left behind with viruses, malware, hacking, scams, stalking, etc. And sometimes the crimes can hurt just as much as those that are committed “in person.”

Norton-197

The graphic above shows one big way people are hurt in cybercrime. Look at those dollar amounts. The total cost is the same as what we spend on fast food in a year. And we know that amount isn’t small. Yet the average cost of cybercrime on one individual is nearly $200. It may be “just” Internet crime, but it’s still hurting people in a big way financially.

Sometimes cybercrime is committed specifically to steal something in particular, but often that $200 is just replacing what was damaged or taken. Viruses are sometimes created just to mess up people’s computers. And because of that, it’s taking on average $200 to fix or replace what has been damaged.

Norton-Social

Much of the cybercrime takes place on the social networks. They have safeguards in place to help, but apparently many people don’t know about them, according to graphic above. One in three people log into a social network and don’t even bother to log out, meaning all of their information is displayed there for everyone to see.

But it’s the other stats in that graphic that seem so incredulous. One in five people don’t check links before sharing. That is so important! You never know what is going to show or pop up when you click a link. Of course you should verify them before sharing with others. And one in six have no idea if their settings are public or private. I know this to be true, as I know people like this, but it is still just as incredulous.

There’s one thing for sure looking at all these stats. Those committing cybercrimes are counting on our ignorance. They’re counting on us not realizing how important it is to verify links and to leave our computers unprotected to viruses. The only way to keep yourself safe is to always be informed. Keep reading Make Tech Easier every day. We’ll be sure to always keep the readers informed.

The post The Numbers Behind Cybercrime – 18 Victims Per Second, And You Could Be One Of Them appeared first on Make Tech Easier.

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Microsoft and Backberry Offering Cash Incentives to App Developershttp://www.maketecheasier.com/microsoft-and-rim-offering-cash-incentives-to-app-developers/ http://www.maketecheasier.com/microsoft-and-rim-offering-cash-incentives-to-app-developers/#comments Thu, 21 Mar 2013 02:05:44 +0000 http://maketecheasier.com/?p=68156 In what seems like a move to try and beat Apple and Android, both Microsoft and Blackberry are offering cash incentives to app developers. But, is that enough?

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Microsoft-LogoMake no mistake about it. It’s a war out there. The tech giants for desktop and mobile platforms are ready to fight for their piece of the market. In what seems like a move to try and beat Apple and Android, both Microsoft and RIM are offering cash incentives to app developers.

Microsoft has begun a program where they are promising $100 for each newly published app that’s submitted for Windows 8 and Windows Phone. Developers can submit up to ten apps for each platform, meaning they can make up to $2000.

Microsoft isn’t alone. RIM Blackberry is also offering a cash incentive to developers of apps for the Blackberry 10. Their offer is definitely more enticing. They are guaranteeing apps will make $10,000 in the first year, and if they don’t, they’ll cut the developer a check for the difference. However, the Terms and Conditions state that the app has to be of a certain quality and it has to make at least $1,000 to qualify.

Microsoft-Cash

Of course there is only one reason for Microsoft and RIM offering cash incentives to the developers. The big knock against Blackberry 10 and the Windows Phone is that, at least initially, developers aren’t in a race to make apps for the platforms. They would rather make apps for Android and Apple where they will get “more bang for the buck.”

It becomes a vicious circle with users staying away from the newer platforms just because they know there won’t be as many apps offered. For these newer platforms, they have to generate some movement somewhere, so they are offering the developers these cash incentives, hoping they will bite and create the apps, and the users will then flock to the new systems to check them out. Developers are apparently taking the bait at RIM Blackberry, as they’ve already closed the offer.

Microsoft-Closed

It’s the technology version of the Field of Dreams’ “If you build it, they will come.” However, there is still another large reason for users to not jump on the the Windows Phone and Blackberry 10 bandwagon. Many smartphone users already have a favorite platform. They already have years built up in being iPhone and Android users. If they’re happy with these platforms, why would they start over just because they have some new apps?

Time will tell how Microsoft and RIM Blackberry offering cash incentives to app developers will pan out. It seems unlikely for Windows Phone and Blackberry 10 to be able to make up so much ground that they overtake Android and the iPhone, no matter what incentives are made to the developers.

What do you think? Are you likely to switch platforms because of new, exciting apps or are you likely to stay put with your current phone? Let us know in the comments below.

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