Sunday, December 22, 2013

Which Smartphone of 2013 is Best? Let’s Find Out

The smartphone industry is considered the biggest market in consumer tech nowadays. It has managed to create a thriving culture that affects a lot of people in a global scale. And as always, because of its irrefutable fame, an outright competition has been brewing ever since its market has been conceived. This is the reason why you see so many smartphones from a variety of manufacturers trying to outdo each other. So, before 2013 ends, let us see which is best among a handful of smartphones according to the review by BGR. Read on.

Best Design. More than the internal components which determine how well a smartphone is going to work, aesthetics plays a major role in driving sales. If a handset looks nice, it’s definitely worth being showed off. And in this category, the award goes to the HTC One. Indeed, deciding the winner for this category was not easy, but evidently, the attention to details by HTC made it undeniably the victor. The aluminum casing brings out an elegant look, while its convex posterior makes it fit perfectly in the hand. The glass covering in front creates a feeling of endlessness, for it spills over the sides of the phone that is aligned flawlessly with its chamfered bezel. Plus, the front-facing BoomSound speakers contribute to the overall look, giving the HTC One the title of best design.

Best Performance. When it comes to performance, we typically rely on numbers to arrive at a conclusion, but with the iPhone 5s, this doesn’t apply. Many Android smartphones available on the market are already being built with quad and octa-core processors clocked at over 2GHz, while the 5s is only powered with a dual-core processor clocked at 1.3GHz. But as it appears with extensive testing and comparison performed by well-respected device reviewers, the flagship phone of Apple doesn’t only level with the powerful Android phones; it outperforms them.

Best Display. Because of the fact that the smartphones of today have a touchscreen interface, it is imperative in the part of smartphone manufacturers to come up with a superb display that has stupendous clarity. Of all the mobile phones vigilantly scrutinized for this category, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 boasted the most gorgeous display. This ginormous handset sports Samsung’s brightest super AMOLED display ever. Test results show that its panel is 55% brighter than its predecessor’s panel, yet the colors don’t appear to be exaggerated like with the Galaxy S4. No wonder, the Galaxy Note 3 became the fastest-selling phablet of all time.

Best Value. Of course, we can expect a far more expensive smartphone to be better in a variety of aspects, but this is a question that’s worth being answered: “Is it worth it?” You can splurge all you want on a gadget, but will the money you put on it be worth every penny? If value is what you’re looking for, then look no more because Google’s Nexus 5 is the smartphone for you. It is made affordable, for it retails only for $349. Comparatively, you’ll see that other smartphones having the same specs as the Nexus 5 cost nearly as twice off contract.

I think we all agree with the results. If you still haven’t decided what smartphone to get for yourself, I hope that this review has shed some light on what your next purchase is going to be.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Surely, Samsung’s Response to The Burnt Galaxy S4 Incident is Unacceptable

We can never expect everything in this world to be absolutely perfect. Whether you like it or not, there will come a time when you will be faced with a far-from-perfect reality that will test you to your limits. And sometimes, because the adversity is too much for us to bear, we tend to just accept them as part of life. Where am I leading you on this, you ask? Well, it is in our very nature to create an ideal world in our minds where nothing ever goes wrong. We have a propensity to trust too much that everything we deal with is done in good faith.

Even the tech giants that we so much look up to aren’t perfect, you know. We often feel confident that there is nothing they can do that will lessen our opinion of them, especially if they are the likes of Apple or Samsung. But then again, nothing’s perfect. They may express the guarantee of satisfaction to their customers, but at the end of the day, those words are nothing more than a facade of make believes.

Actually, it’s no longer a surprise that there are cases where consumer electronics combust. This article is not to single out one company because this already had happened to various mobile phones and tablets from Samsung, Apple, and other manufacturers. God forbid that you be the one who is going to receive the defective device, but if it so happened that it comes straight to your possession, it’s the company’s responsibility to investigate the matter carefully and set it right professionally. But with just what one Samsung consumer experienced with his Galaxy S4, it appears that Samsung has to learn the basics in dealing with its customers the hard way.

Initially, what the disgruntled customer did was he had a YouTube video posted behind the username GhostlyRich (who is not the actual owner of the device), showing that his Galaxy S4 caught on fire while it was plugged in to charge overnight. He was awakened in the middle of the night by the nauseating smell of burning electronics. Hastily, he unplugged the device from the outlet before the damage turns into a conflagration as soon as he discovered the smoking phone.

The video immediately caught the attention of Samsung. Thereafter, the smartphone company sent a letter to the affected consumer, stating that it would swap out the man’s charred and now useless Galaxy S4, which was still under warranty, only if he removed the video discussing the matter from YouTube.

The letter clearly shows the intent of the sender to bully who seems to be its greatest asset—its customer. More infuriated than ever, GhostlyRich once again posted a video tackling the response of Samsung to the incident. Because it’s so intriguing, it had now garnered more than 400,000 views. This is definitely something that will damage the reputation of the world-renowned company. The most that it can get out of this experience is the knowledge on how to deal with this kind of matter if in any case it ever happens again.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Nokia Joins the Android Line-up with the Normandy

The tech giant Nokia has manufactured quite a number of mobile phones ever since it has ventured into the telecommunications industry. It had pioneered a multitude of innovations that paved a way to make advanced mobile computing a reality. However, Nokia wasn’t able to maintain the momentum and keep up with the standards of the growing industry; to no avail, it resorted in selling its mobile division to Microsoft in order to prevent further losses and restore the empire it had once built.

In the light of the purchase agreement between the two, many Android fans have had their spirits broken, thinking that there will never be a way for Nokia to release a smartphone powered by Google’s open-source OS Android. Once the sale has been realized, it’s but expected that all handheld devices that will be coming out the works carrying the Nokia brand will have Windows Phone as their mobile platform.

Let’s not shut the doors of possibilities just yet; for as long as the merger isn’t yet legally acknowledged, Nokia still has absolute control over its handset business. In fact, speculations from multiple sources have sprouted like mushrooms that the Finnish smartphone manufacturer is planning on releasing its first-ever Android-powered mobile phone, and the said device will be codenamed as “Normandy.”

Given the fact that this move by Nokia is unprecedented, what reasons could there be for the company to come up with an Android device now that the merger will soon be made official, not to mention when it had always relied on the Windows Phone to run its devices? Apparently, the Normandy aims to target the market of low-end phones as an equivalent of the Asha to further push low cost devices to potential first-time smartphone users. As it turns out, the Asha struggled to achieve widely acclaimed fame for its target consumers allegedly due to its Series 40-powered system. The limited app ecosystem where the Asha is built into was perceived as a major shortcoming; thus, an Android device will be able to address this issue where the Nokia Asha line-up failed to triumph.

However, even if this rumor is true, there is yet no assurance that the project will ever see the light of day. The people behind the Normandy project were informed that the device is planned to be launched on 2014, with one insider describing the efforts on the project as “full steam ahead.” Timing is crucial. If Nokia manages to release the Normandy before the Microsoft acquisition is completed, we will be able to get hold of the first and last Android-powered Nokia device. Otherwise, if the Nokia-Microsoft deal overtakes this project’s release, it may not ever come into fruition, for Android is a conflict of interest for Microsoft over its own Windows Phone operating system. Let’s just cross our fingers and hope for the best.

Monday, December 9, 2013

BlackBerry’s Most Loyal Patron is Not Your Average Consumer

Reuters have described Obama as a “very loyal” BlackBerry customer. Yet, what evidences are there to prove this, you ask? For starters, “I’m not allowed for security reasons to have an iPhone,” said Obama to a group of young people at the White House for an event promoting his health care law. He would rather have a bulky BlackBerry device than to live with the suspicions of someone spying at him. Speculations for this matter grew due to the possibility that Apple was one of the several Silicon Valley tech giants that allowed the NSA to pull up consumer data directly from their servers, even though the company continually denies the accusation. In addition, Obama even made a joke once that if the Secret Service wanted to take his BlackBerry phone from him, they’d have to pry from his hands.

It’s a fact that Obama is a more tech savvy individual compared to his predecessors, although he wasn’t born close to the advent of the Internet. When Obama first took office in 2009, he was viewed as a cool, hip person who can relate to the digital lifestyle of the average American due to his BlackBerry phone. But after 5 years under the scrutiny to the public eye, people have shifted their view of his techie persona from the said to something outdated and ridiculous. He isn’t the cool person anymore that many have thought of him.

Obama’s choice to hang on to BlackBerry might just seem an insignificant detail, but him possessing an iPhone can advertently change how the masses view him as a person and a leader in all aspects. If he is open to embrace the new, which in this case is an iPhone, he will be perceived as someone who can approach and resolve problems with a degree of innovation and open-mindedness.

Going back to the event that started this, the president was actually persuading the young people to look into the new Affordable Care Act (ACA). He said, “The idea that you wouldn’t want to make sure you’ve got the health security and financial security that comes with health insurance for less than that price, you guys are smarter than that. Most young people are as well.” He stressed out that majority of young people nowadays spend over $100 per month collectively on Internet service plans from wireless carriers, and roughly the same cost can already secure them of a health insurance coverage, which is essentially a smarter choice.

We all know that BlackBerry is still in its struggling position, but be that as it may, knowing that it has Obama—the most powerful man in the world—as its loyal customer, that kind of repute can’t be replaced by significant market shares. You might want to look into more reasons as to why Obama has held on to the Canadian-manufactured smartphone, and maybe you too would be thinking twice of getting a BlackBerry device instead of the excessively popular iPhone.

Monday, December 2, 2013

If You Don’t Know These Smartphones, You Know Nothing about Luxury

One’s social status is determined by his affluence, so to speak. There are ways to show one’s extravagance, be it with the sports car he drives on the freeway, the signature bag she carries on her shoulders, or the smartphone he uses to make calls and whatnot. And yes, smartphones are now considered a way to exhibit one’s opulence. It’s a fact that the mobile phone industry is the fastest growing there is, and with that, there are already billions of handsets out there in the hands of mobile users, but nothing can beat these luxury smartphones. Check on the list to find out what they are.

Ulysse Nardin Chairman Diamond Edition. So here it is—the most expensive smartphone money can buy. It retails at $129,000. The phone is adorned with 3,000 gems that totals to 17 carats with an 18K white gold case. Once it’s hit by the light, expect it to reflect an astonishing glow that can mesmerize anyone. It runs on Android, has a 3.2-inch touchscreen display, 8-megapixel camera, 32GB of storage, and a fingerprint scanner, same as the innovative feature of the iPhone 5s.

Dior Reveries Haute Couture. The first runner-up in the list of the most luxurious smartphones also comes in a staggering six-digit price worth $107,000. This handset is so limited edition that only 99 of these works of art have been made. This handheld device also runs on Android, and it made possible with the help of LG, one of the most innovative smartphone manufacturers in the world.

Vertu Ti. Vertu is a high-end smartphone manufacturing company which has been coming up with the most top quality, luxurious smartphones with a bunch of exclusive features meant for the elite. Few of its very well known products are the Vertu Constellation and the Vertu TI, which is the first ever touchscreen device created by the company. Same as with the first two, this one runs on Android. It is assembled by hand to ensure unparalleled quality. Its price ranges from $6000 to $16,000, depending on how elegant you want your Vertu Ti to be.

Tag Heuer Link. Bluntly, luxury smartphones are basically all about the inessential ornaments that make them stand out, and nothing can be more luxurious than diamonds. This handset is meticulously embellished with 1007 diamonds totalling 2.53 carats. And as usual, this, too, runs on Android. It sports a 3.5-inch WVGA display and a 5-megapixel main camera. In addition, it is water-tight and shock-resistant. This piece of item which is an epitome of elegance is a celebration of Swiss craftsmanship that sells at $6,700 at minimum.

BlackBerry Porsche Design P’9981. Who would have thought that BlackBerry, a struggling company, still has the guts to pull off this sleek, high-end device? Its edgy design is made possible by the Porsche Group. It has the BlackBerry signature QWERTY keypad that is wrapped in stainless steel and covered by genuine leather on its rear panel. If you want it, you can get it for $2,050.

As the saying goes, You Only Live Once; splurge and enjoy for as long as you still have some breath left in your lungs. If you have the means and you want to show it off, then don’t you miss on these luxury smartphones to make you a cut above the rest.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Even Socks Can Be Smart With Sensoria Fitness

Running has become a part of life for more and more people. It is considered a great activity to promote one’s fitness and wellness. In the U.S. alone, there are over 25 million runners; out of that huge number, more than 60% of them get injured every year. And those injuries range from just minor aches to chronic conditions.

According to Maurizio Macagno, vice president of development for Heapsylon, “Technology is becoming smaller, and it will eventually disappear to the human eye.” In the far future, there is a possibility that technology will be incorporated in everything that surrounds us—and in us. Though that idea is still a somewhat far-fetched, some innovators keep us right on track.

Featuring the Sensoria Fitness Socks—a smart device that can promote one’s run. It provides more accurate details of a person’s number of steps taken, distance, speed, cadence, and calories burned. But apart from the information provided by it same as with the various fitness equipment available on stores, it gets to tell you how well you’re running. It reflects both the quality and quantity of your every run. It even integrates a virtual coach to improve your performance. If you sit down too long, the app will let you know that it’s already time to stand and get going through your mobile earphones. If you get injured, it will alert your loved ones. It essentially heightens performance and security.

The socks themselves are the sensors, and because they are directly placed on your feet, they provide you with the most accurate step, altitude, and calorie counter versus other fitness devices available on the market. The equipment will let you know how to run the proper way in order to prevent strain or any other serious injuries. It helps runners avoid potentially dangerous techniques, such as heel striking, overpronating, or excessive forefoot running that could later lead to back pain or Achilles tendon injuries. With it, you will be able to analyze your every run to make sure you improve your performance and meet your goals. It enables you to share data through social media to build a community of runners like you so that you get to reach your target altogether.

The Sensoria Fitness experience comes with a pair of smart socks that can go through wash and dry cycles, an electronic anklet that magnetically snaps on the cuff of the socks together with the anklet charger, and the mobile application that monitors your performance, shows valuable data, and provides you with real-time audio cues to improve your run. The Sensoria Fitness app is available for iOS, Android and Windows Phones. But if you prefer running without your phone, there’s absolutely no problem. You can always access your data at home with the app’s easy to use dashboard.

If you want to enhance your active lifestyle—or commence it—in making your each and every run more fulfilling as ever, then you should definitely should have a hands-on—foot-on rather—with the Sensoria Fitness Socks. It currently retails at $149. If you’re interested on this smart, wearable device that boosts your fitness level, then pre-order now and receive your very own in March 2014.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

And the Word of the Year for 2013 is...Selfie!

Language is arbitrary in nature. It changes depending on a variety of factors. It’s so common nowadays that we get to encounter peculiar words that we never have heard of nor used in the past. As it turns out, words just come out of nowhere. For as long as a word achieves global fame known with a unanimous definition, expect that it’s going to become a legitimate word in the dictionary in no time.

And yes, this digital age has become a catalyst to this trend. In text messaging for example, instead of taxing yourself in typing “talk to you later,” you can just say TTYL, and the person on the other line will definitely get what you’re talking about. And not to mention neologisms; they are like mushrooms sprouting out of every nook and cranny of all corners of the world. Surprisingly, their meaning can get to people of every race and creed faster than a speeding bullet. Well, with the internet used in a widespread extent, this should never be a surprise.

And as we talk about new words and whatnot, may I introduce to you Oxford’s word of the year for 2013. And the winner goes to ...Selfie! *claps* The credit goes to all the narcissistic duck-faces who incessantly raise their app-enhanced camera phone up in the air to snap a picture of their faces and nothing else. Just scan your favorite social media site like Instagram, and you’ll see what I’m talking about—the many faces of a single person. I bet you’re guilty on being one of them; well, we all are.

The selfie movement was immortalized in the blog of Oxford Dictionaries. The verdict, according to the blog, was unanimous. The word selfie was a part of Oxford’s “Words on the Radar” feature in 2012, and just earlier this year, it has been officially added to the extensive roster of words in the English language. The word of the year is defined as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.” Although its usage has been made popular by smartphone addicts across the globe, Oxford notes that the term can be traced back to an Australian message board post in 2002, where a writer said, “And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.”

According to Judy Pearsall, editorial director for Oxford Dictionaries, “Social media sites helped to popularize the term, with the hashtag selfie appearing on the photo-sharing website Flickr as early as 2004, but usage wasn’t widespread until around 2012, when selfie was being commonly in mainstream media sources.” In fact, the usage of the word has increased a whopping 17,000 percent over the past 12 months, said Oxford Dictionaries. So, if you want your gibberish to be officially legit, then now is the time to spread the word. Best of luck to you!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Have These Life-Saving Apps Against Allergies on Your Smartphone

Each and every person has a varying degree of sensitivity to external stimuli. Some people may develop a hypersensitivity reaction to substances that are harmless in nature. The name allergens are given to those substances that innervate the immune response. And the inflammatory response ranges from as simple as itchiness to a life-threatening anaphylactic shock. Let me stop myself for awhile; rather than delving into the nose-bleeding specifics on allergies, let us just find some ways on how to steer clear from that imminent danger. And if you still don’t know by now, apps are a great way to keep you safe from an allergy attack. Learn what these apps are by checking on the list below.
  1. Noshed It. Most allergens come in the form of food, and if your immune system is more discriminating than your taste buds, then you should have this app to make sure you don’t end up unconscious on the floor. Noshed It has the mapping database of FourSquare plus the social sharing capabilities of Twitter and Facebook. It lets a person of a certain food allergy share his favorite and least favorite dishes to people of the same condition.
  2. Allergy Eats. This app is just about perfect for people who are into dining out often. It makes sure that its users have a pleasurable and definitely safe dining experience. Allergy eats initiates a peer-based feedback system to see how well restaurants cater to customers with special dietary needs. Hence, you will know where to eat and where not to eat.
  3. Anaphylaxis. If you’re born with a hypersensitive immune response, then you just have to live with it. All you have to do is plan ahead and ready yourself with the necessary actions in any case the worse comes to worst. Good thing, Anaphylaxis can help you get started. You can be able to create your allergy management plan with this app. Plus, it allows you to set your specific allergens, medications to be taken, and contact persons in the event you encounter a reaction.
  4. First Aid by American Red Cross. It’s best to know a little something about first aid. To get those brain cells working, you can be able to watch the app’s collection of first-aid videos and answer the interactive quizzes during your spare time, provided that you always have a portable charger handy to replenish your handset’s battery. At least, when something dangerously unexpected happens, you know what to do.
  5. EMNet Finder. Sometimes, first aid isn’t just enough, and what you really need is an intervention from a hospital. And if you find yourself in the brink of an attack, you have to get to a medical facility fast wherever you are. EMNet Finder utilizes the GPS function of your smartphone to help you locate the nearest hospital. Furthermore, it provides you with the directions so you can get there in a jiffy.
Remember that technology always has a way on everything, and that includes your health. Never get to thinking that the apps available on your trusty smartphone are merely for entertainment; they too are capable of saving lives. And you know what, the best thing about these apps is that they are absolutely free! So don’t go dying on me because of your allergy, for these apps are here to save your life!

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Guide on Choosing the Smartphone Right for You: Platform Edition

There are a lot of factors that can influence one’s choice for the operating system of his phone. Aside from apps, services, and responsiveness, aesthetic appeal is a significant indicator as well. The three dominant mobile platforms today are Google’s Android, Apple’s iOS, and Microsoft’s Windows Phone, which are rank-ordered respectively. Android officially comprises 80 percent of the global platform market share in the 3rd quarter of 2013, while iOS is still second in line with 12.9 percent, down from 14.4 percent a year ago. On the other hand, Windows Phone is slowly but steadily growing in number, being locked in the third spot with 3.6 percent. Given the figures, let’s just focus on the big three of smartphone platforms. So, read on.

The reason for the significantly impressive market share of Android is its availability to the smartphones of multiple manufacturing companies. Its widespread utilization in smartphones of all sorts, three-inchers to 6-inch phablets, makes it the most popular by a wide margin. And why won’t it be? Android features an easily customizable OS that hardware manufacturers and users themselves can drastically change by just a few simple tweaks. If you don’t like the current virtual keyboard, download another from Google’s Play Store. If you want the most recent tweets in your timeline on the homescreen instead of the clock, then customize it. Android lets its users get a more personalized experience with their handheld devices.

And since Android is Google’s very own, it offers Google’s vast number of innovative services, such as Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Contacts, Google+, Google Drive, Google Hangouts, and Google Maps. The most noteworthy drawback of Android is what kept it the leading mobile platform in the first place. Because it’s available to a myriad of smartphone brands, third-party app developers find it labor-intensive to develop apps for Android; as a result, cutting-edge apps make their debut in iOS first because of the said factor. In addition, the quality of apps available in Play Store isn’t always up to the same standards set by in iOS.

iOS can be solely found on all iDevices. As a matter of fact, its exclusivity makes it more appealing and interesting. However, with that kind of situation, it has to prove itself as something worth having, and that is exactly what Apple has accomplished with iOS.

Among all mobile platforms out there, iOS is branded as the most user-friendly. It is generally the simplest to use and learn. Indeed, even toddlers have been able to master every nook and cranny of the iOS. But with its easy-to-use interface, comes a very stringent limitation for personalization. And talk about apps; it is a tradition that third-party software developers choose to target iOS first because of the ease of releasing an app on only limited types of devices, even though the iOS market share isn’t that much as compared with Android’s. The disadvantage is just is if you’re not much of a fan of the hardware specifics of iDevices like a limited 4-inch screen with its smartphones, then you might want to consider another OS.

Windows Phone

The mobile platform from Microsoft is the youngest of the three. Due to its considerably small share in the global platform market, it’s just but expected that its app ecosystem isn’t rich enough when compared to Google Play and iTunes. This might be the very reason why you yourself may think twice before getting smartphone that runs on Windows Phone. But make no rash decisions just yet, for the devices that run this OS are of good quality. Most of them are Nokia products. And now that the mobile phone division of Nokia has been purchased by Microsoft, we can definitely see more improvements with the upcoming handsets to be produced by Microsoft with the current technology of Nokia.

Choosing the operating system of your next smartphone could be the most important consideration you’ll have to ponder on. The platform is essentially the soul of every device, so think carefully and choose properly.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Viber Aids Typhoon-stricken Philippine Victims with Viber Out

It is in every human being’s nature to help those who are in need. Goodness is innate in all of us, and it shows especially when the situation calls for it. Whether it is something that requires our big effort to help or just in our very own little ways, helping others exudes our sense of humanity.

Over the weekend, super typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) wreaked havoc in the Pearl of the Orient Seas. It was branded as one of the strongest typhoons to date. It is the deadliest storm to ever hit the Philippines on record, with officials saying that as much as 10,000 people are believed to be dead in one coastal city alone; the typhoon trailed more parts of the Philippine archipelago, which might have claimed more victims.

Viber Aids Typhoon-stricken Philippine Victims with Viber Out
And as said, due to the recent devastation in the Philippines, Viber, a pioneering mobile messaging and VoIP company, has opened a temporary service, allowing Filipino users to call regular non-Viber numbers outside of the country for free. It used its official account to send out a message on Monday at about 8:50 am, to deliver the good news. According to Talmon Marco, CEO of Viber, “Things happen, and since we’re the largest over-the-top provider there, we rushed something to market that isn’t far from readiness but isn’t fully completed.”

The service is not yet the final product; hence, not all countries are supported. In addition, the quality of service may vary when calling loved ones abroad depending on the country. For this temporary feature to work, one may need to have to restart his device. Open the app, and tap any of the numbers listed next to “Viber Out.” Typically, a Viber user will be charged accordingly depending on normal overseas call rates if he contacts a non-Viber user. But this temporary service exclusive in the Philippines makes the call absolutely free. Marco explains that the Viber Out, which will eventually be a premium feature for everyone, but it is made available to Filipinos temporarily to aid them in terms of communications.

Currently, the service supports mobile and landline numbers in USA, Canada, UK, Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Israel, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, and Thailand; while it supports landline only numbers in Argentina, Brazil Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Venezuela.

Nothing is more calming than knowing your loved ones afar who have been stricken by the calamity to be safe and sound. Alleviate them from their long-standing agony and give them peace of mind. So, do your family abroad a big favor; call them in their mobile or landline phones to let them know that you’re just okay.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Want to Lose Weight? Texting May Help

Every commitment of any kind is downright hard to see through. Chances are, we just might engage in something that can completely capsize what we have chosen to live our lives for. And where does that leave us? Of course, it leaves us in shambles—in the realm of defeat. One of the scenarios that we often fail to keep our commitment to is with our weight loss programs. We tend to fall short with the commitment and with ourselves ultimately, which brings us to the fact that losing weight is so darn taxing.

Over the years, it has been established that technology in the form of our smartphones is one reason for the increasing incidence of obesity. Prior research shows that spending too much time fiddling over your handheld device is bad for your fitness. However, one study shows that this is not always the case; there is an aspect with technology that isn’t at all counterproductive to fitness programs. And this comes by means of texting. According to the VCU School of Nursing research team headed by Claudia Bouhaidar, “The ubiquitous spread of mobile phone short message systems (SMS) appears to offer an effective alternative to face-to-face approach when delivering behavioral weight management interventions.”

loss weight with texting

The study participants in the experiment received a text message biweekly which often involves an interactive component, such as responding ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to whether the participant followed the a healthy diet advice or not. In the beginning of the 12-week diet program study, 66 percent of the experimental group responded to the text messages. But that number gradually narrowed down to 52 percent until the end of the study. Be that as it may, the researchers deemed that as acceptable. Ultimately, they found out that 72 percent of the respondents considered the text messages “somewhat” to “very motivational” to reach their goal.

The results of the aforementioned study confirm that dieters who opted to receive motivational and reinforceable text messages lost around 4.5 pounds or 2 kilograms more in a 12-week period than those who did not receive any texts at all. Text messaging showed promise for increasing motivation for increasing exercise and promoting other healthy behaviors.

So you see, besides pushing you to shed off those extra pounds, text messaging also helps improve our eating behaviors, exercise and nutrition self-efficacy, and our attitude towards mobile technology. It serves as a medium to establish a social support system in keeping ourselves in good shape. As of this moment, the findings are but limited, but the researchers are hopeful that the practice of text messages will be adopted in a large-scale and long-term intervention studies to further strengthen the effect it proves. If this happens, the presence of tailored text messages might one day appear in weight loss management programs among peers or in programs for a healthier community.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Smartphones: Source of Your Stress (Part II)

Have you been quite frazzled about knowing that your phone could be the source of all your stress? You might not notice them right off the bat but once these simple things have accumulated, you’re going to need all your might just to squeeze out that stress through your stress ball. Well, if the previous examples on the part one of this article haven’t sufficed to say that these nifty phones can be the source of all your exhaustion, then here are other situations that could wrap them all at once.

#1: That feeling when you are talking to someone, and he or she is also tapping his or her phone at the same time

using mobile phones
Talking to your friend and tapping on your phone simultaneously? Come on, give me a break. Spending time with your dear ones is your only quality time, why would you even divide it? Although I, myself, am guilty of doing this at times, I try to control myself. I let the person in front of me finish talking first, and I’ll interact as much as I can. Then after that, I’ll excuse myself to check my phone. It’s not that hard, is it? But if you try to be like jack-of-all-trades, talking, eating, and tapping on your smartphone all at once, then this is really something unfavorable. I remember one time, I was talking to a friend when I found out she has her mobile earphones plugged in. Truth be told, I was a bit bummed out. You don’t want to feel that stress, do you?

#2: That feeling when you are away from your phone

stress with smartphones
When you are in a place where phones are restricted, do you feel a bit antsy? The “No Phones Allowed” sign just makes your eyes twitch all the time, doesn’t it? For all you know, that is completely normal—completely normal for people who are addicted to their beloved, nifty smartphones. What about when you hear a speaker saying “Please turn off your cell phones, because the show is about to start.” All nails on the board! Turning your phone off was proven to induce physical and mental withdrawal symptoms according to a study. Thankfully, there is an option for you to just put your phones to silent mode. Or better yet, find a coping mechanism so as to combat the feeling of being anxious. Take a walk for awhile or take a deep breath.

#3: That feeling when you have divided attention in school

How much notes have you taken down than text you sent to your *insert whatever your relation to this person is here*? Well, I know someone who was on his first year in college. Taking up what course? Engineering—the course that will make you MA(TH)D! And so, he got a girlfriend. That’s fine. But I see him literally texting every single day. I know engineering’s math isn’t that easy but he should’ve focused studying than going out with his girl… and yeah, texting—I partially blame. Why wouldn’t I? It has been his constant distraction. Nonetheless, I believe he’ll be able to pull it off once more.

Smartphones can be really alluring; it can also be really distracting. But if you know how to use it right, if you just know how to not abuse it, then perhaps you won’t be stressed this mu—bam!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Going Somewhere? Better Bring a Tablet Instead!

latest gadgets
Electronic devices have proven their value in making life worth living. They can help us in performing our daily tasks a notch easier. Starting from the simple machines you learned back in your formative years to the high tech gadgets of this digital age, they have simply led one innovation after another. And apparently, this decade have seen the fastest advancement when it comes to machines. Computers started as humongous contraptions, to desktop computers, laptops, and now, they have come in the form of tablets. And incontestably, tablets are one of the most preferred pieces of equipment today. Certainly, they are the perfect gadgets to carry when you are on the road. Without further ado, here are the top compelling reasons why you should just leave your laptop and bring your tablet instead on your travels:
  1. It’s MORE portable. The power of a tablet is without a doubt no match to the power of a laptop, and we all know that. But if you are somewhere else and you just need an electronic device for the purpose of reading emails, watching YouTube videos, and staying updated in Twitter and Facebook, it would be a hassle if you still carry your laptop with you. It may turn out light, but you will definitely feel the weight of it on your shoulder in a matter of a few hours. So, just bring your tablet next time, and travel light.
  2. It has a longer battery life. When you’re outdoors, the thing that you want the least to happen is for your gadgets to have their battery life fully drained. There might not even be an outlet nearby to plug in your portable charger to stay connected again. Studies show that most tablets have twice the battery life of a laptop. And this will enable you to get more out of the device you are carrying.
  3. It starts up faster. The booting up period of a device is perhaps the most dreadful seconds of your life. It puts you through a mandatory downtime wherein there’s nothing for you to do but wait. If you hate wasting your precious seconds in front of a loading screen, then better use a tablet because it boots up faster than a laptop.
  4. It is future proof. Laptops are meant to take computing to a brand new level. Back in the days, one can only make use of a computer at home using a desktop. However, since laptops have made their debut, people have brought their businesses and whatnot with them on the go. But as it turns out, there appears to be the ultimate gadget that again takes computing to different heights. With a tablet, you can be able to do as much as what a laptop can do, though it may not be as powerful in terms of specs as the latter. But it’s just a matter of time when tablets will take over all consumer electronic equipment in tech stores.
  5. Cool Tablet Accessories. Because tablets are becoming more famous than laptops nowadays, innovations (internal or external) are more focused to cater for the tablet market. There are a myriad of tablet accessories out there that you can use to customize your device according to your needs. With those add-ons, your tablet just got more dynamic than ever.
  6. It rids you the workaholic mindset. If you’re on a vacation, you would want to use that time to relax and disengage from work. But if you you’re bringing a laptop, you may already feel the stress just by the sight of it, unlike with a tablet that gives a somewhat laid-back feel meant for fun and entertainment.
Come your next excursion, keep the reasons listed above in mind to have a more carefree, exhilarating journey. Travel smart!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Can Headphones Really Damage Our Sense of Hearing?

headphone mobile accessories
Our trusty handheld devices aren’t complete without the instrumental mobile accessories that come to their aid. This is why whenever we purchase a new gadget, the package already includes those essential accessories. And among the much needed accessories in the box, the pair of headphones or earphones is perhaps the most indispensable and searched for.

Taking a look back, according to the Smithsonian magazine, Nathaniel Baldwin developed the headphones in 1910 in Utah. The contraption was meant for the U.S. Navy in improving the mechanism of the naval radio operations. And after quite some time, John Koss, a jazz musician and founder of the Koss Corp., developed the first headphones designed specifically for music. Thereafter, headphones became a standard accessory for most gadgets.

As technology evolves, so are the headphones. Today, you can now see variants of the headphones more often in the form of earphones. And in 2001, when Apple introduced the iPod with a pair of earphones, which have an earpiece that fits snugly inside the earlobes known as earbuds, the accessory gained instant popularity. And the reason behind this is that besides its perfect fit, it also delivers a blast of volume, often preferred by those who like to be brought by the rhythm of the beat.

Seldom do you hear that headphones can damage your sense of hearing. But mind you, they do, especially if you listen to music using them too loud for too long. Be that as it may, earbuds have brought chances of hearing loss to the next level. As said, they directly fit inside the ear, blasting a loud sound straight through the ear canal. Furthermore, earbuds don’t work to cancel out external ambient noise like how headphones do.

You see, the ears are very delicate. The ear drum vibrates when sound enters the ear. The vibrations then travel to the cochlea, where they are carried by a fluid to the fine hairs that stimulate the auditory nerve fibers, then, to the brain for the sound to be interpreted. Essentially, this is the physiology of hearing.

Hearing loss happens when the hair cells inside the ears are damaged. One of the most common insults is when one listens to loud noises for a considerable amount of time. The level of sound our ears can tolerate is normally less than 85 decibels. That is about the level of sound produced by a hair dryer or a food processor.

Experts have found out that earbuds deliver higher level of sound by about 7 to 9 decibels compared to traditional headphones. A discovery was made by an audiologist at Wichita State University; students who were listening with the use of earbuds were detected to turn up the volume up to 110 to 120 decibels. That intensity can cause permanent hearing loss in just a span of 1 hour and 15 minutes. This is no wonder why the number of teens who suffer hearing loss has risen by 33% since 1994, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.

We come up to this question: what do we need to do about this? You really need not to throw your earbuds this instant. All you have to do is observe some precautionary measures. If ever you are going to use an earbuds or any type of headphones for this matter, observe the 60/60 rule. This requires listeners not to listen through them for more than 60 minutes. Additionally, the maximum volume should only be at 60%. Now that you’ve been informed, you better use your mobile earphones the right way to make sure you don't lose your sense of hearing earlier than expected.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Keep Your Passwords Crack-free with These Tips

mobile protection
Security has become a top priority in this digital age. The use of handheld electronic devices and the internet are now a tradition for keeping all sorts of valuable information, either public or strictly confidential. And considering the potential vulnerability of these kinds of data against crackers, it’s only about time till we experience having our accounts compromised.

Figures show that almost 73% of Americans have become victim to some type of internet crime in their lifetime. And one of the reasons why this happens is because their passwords have been known by someone else. It is an absolute truth that no information online is 100% safe, but there are always steps that you and I can take to augment our safety measures. Because passwords are considered the first line of defense, you are obliged to keep them as secure as possible. Given this, here are some tips to make your passwords crack-free.

  1. Remember: a password easy to remember is easy to crack. We have a tendency to use passwords that has something to do with our daily lives. Our password of choice might be a series of predictable set of numbers, a birth date, a name of our family member, or anything else that says about us. One best practice is to mix and match numbers, letters, and symbols. It may complicate things, but at least, you will be spared from the high probability of being a victim of an internet crime.
  2. Do not use the same password for your every account. Some people practice using a single password for all of their accounts to make every login a tad easier. But mind you, this is a very unhealthy habit, most especially if those accounts with the same password include your email account. Your email is typically used to reset the passwords of your other sites; therefore, if someone has taken over your email, he can easily gain access to all your accounts and wreak havoc to your life.
  3. Don’t let security questions make you insecure. Security questions are a great way to retrieve your accounts in the event that you have forgotten your password. But you have to bear in mind not to choose to answer the questions that solicit an obvious answer which can be easily googled, such as the name of your pet, the high school you’d attended to, the car you’re driving, or your mother’s maiden name. Don’t set a trap that you yourself will fall victim into.
  4. Make your passwords long and strong. The longer the password is, the harder it will be for an attacker to crack it. However, length is not the only factor that you can take advantage of; its complexity can also serve as an advantage for you. After coming up with a long enough set of characters, try to employ a combo of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols to make it even harder to crack.
  5. Do a routine password change. Same as with your underwear, you also have to routinely change your passwords. A good practice is to change them every three months.

Make sure to practice these tips to ward of any threats to your digital life. While the fingerprint technology isn’t yet widespread on every device and logins yet just like with the innovative iPhone 5s, make do of your set of alphanumeric characters for a moment. Keep in mind, a healthy password today keeps the crackers away.