Reasons You Shouldn’t Steal

phoneDo I really have to go on? Nobody should steal! It always sucks when someone steals from you. The worst is when it’s something irreplaceable. Family heirlooms, computers with personal photos/info, pets – all things that get stolen and make you wonder what kind of world we live in. Well that brings me to someone who sort of made lemons out of lemonade. At least they found humor in a grim situation. This person had their iPhone stolen. Yes, that sucks for everyone who has had this happen. Thank goodness for iCloud but still! Unfortunately, it happens a little too often. So the phone gets stolen but the clever little thief starts using the phone and doesn’t delete the Dropbox app. That means every photo and video he takes gets uploaded into Dropbox where the phone’s true owner can see. That brings me to the site “Life of a Stranger Who Stole My Phone”. It’s a blog with all the thief’s pics and a nice little narration of his life. Go here to see and read all about him. Good stuff!    ~Dutch

Candy Crush Zombies

candyHave you heard of Candy Crush? You can forget Farmville and Facebook and Words With Friends, this game is the new addiction. And it’s BAD. There are no zombies in the game, I’m just referring to when you are trying to talk to your friend but they are glued to their phone. Chances are they are playing Candy Crush. Basically, the game just involves lining up certain colors and shapes. It doesn’t sound that appealing but once you play, it looks SO easy to win that you have to keep playing. I know people that are in the 3 digit levels. I’m sad to say I’ve never made it past level 30. And in case you think I just stayed on that level for a while, you’re wrong. I may have deleted the app and then reinstalled it the next week and started all over. If you can’t wait for your time limit to be up for a new life, you can purchase more lives. I don’t know anyone who has spent any money in the game but I read today that Candy Crush is bringing in $633,000 a DAY. I was happy to see that 70% of players that finished the game were able to do so without purchasing anything. So it IS possible. That being said, download the app if you dare. Don’t do it if you have deadlines to meet but if you are going to be recovering from some kind of surgery that involves hours of bed rest, this is your game!   ~Dutch

Instagram Videos?

videoToday’s Throwback is to yesterday, that is before Instagram added videos. I’m not happy about this. Sometimes I just like the simplicity of things. Remember how on MySpace, you could customize your backgrounds and then Facebook came out and everyone had the same one? So much less complicated. Then Facebook had to add things like more buttons and then the dreaded timeline. I suppose if people are constantly switching between their Instagram and Viddy or Vine, they might like having it all in one place. But Instagram became so popular because it was JUST photos. That’s why it’s so great. I remember when it first came out, of course I got it right away and loved the filters. What I didn’t know was that you had followers and people were able to see what I was taking pictures of…awkward! I made my account private right away. None of my friends had accounts and I liked using mine to share photos with my family. Flashback to today: everyone I know is on it, I have hundreds of photos, and I’m pretty much addicted to it. I’m sure I’ll get used to the new video addition, but for now, I’m protesting. Update your app to get the new feature…if you like that sort of thing.    ~Dutch

WWDC 2013

wwdc_2013There’s a ton of tech news this week, from the X1 Microsoft conference to the Sony PS4 event, but the one I want to type about today is Apple’s WWDC. If you’re an Android or Windows fan you should browse somewhere else, because Apple’s numbers don’t lie, they are making the products that people are using. Mac sales are up 100% versus PC sales only up 18%, iOS devices are the most loved among its users by an average of 20% greater satisfaction by end users than Android users. If I still have any Google fan boys here, things are getting worse; the latest iOS 7 being released this fall is going to bring some of the features that Android users always complain about with Apple products. The iOS user interface been completely redesigned with a flatter but more layered feel, with more ways to get access to the things you use the most. This isn’t a debate, I’m just giving you my one sided view, however it always seems to be the Android users in my life that want to hate on Apple. Personally, I don’t care, use what you like. I like Apple and I won’t shove it down your throat, well, besides this post, but I don’t want to hear about your plastic Android that runs some fragmented version of Google’s great OS. There is a method to Apple’s madness, but I’ll let you decide. Click here to watch the full keynote from yesterday. ~cw4ll

A Beautiful Mess

sunOne of my favorite blogs is A Beautiful Mess by Elsie and Emma. They are too cute girls that blog about everything: crafts, photography, recipes, fashion, you name it. I first learned about their blog from Pinterest after pinning lots of pictures that started from them. Why am I talking about a blog on tech day? Well, you probably weren’t thinking about that because most people don’t realize Cwall and I have a theme each day we go by. But we do. And Elsie and Emma just came out with their own photo editing app! I would say I have more photo apps than anything else on my phone. Theirs is pretty different because it’s very much their style. Cute borders, doodles, arrows, anchors, and phrases are all pre-loaded and you can change the colors and sizes yourself. I like the selection they have but you can also purchase more. The picture to the left is one I found and added some flair from this app. Check out their blog here and buy the app for 99 cents here.   ~Dutch

Piki

I use Pandora daily in my car to stream music I like from my iPhone. Last month I hit my 40 hour limit with ten days left in the month. Pandora’s business model sucks. Play music for free, listen to irrelevant ads (play videos while you drive), only get limited access to the free service that they make ad revenue from, when your time is up ask you for money for the ad free service or a buck for the rest of the month. So they want a buck so you can continue to listen to their ad based service, which they make money off of already.

pan·do·ra
noun
[pan-dawr-uh, -dohr-uh]
Cut off your nose to spite your face.

I’m focusing on “free” streaming service. There is no such thing, but some are better than others. Songza played literally nothing I enjoyed, Twitters new #music service only works if you have a pre-existing account with another service (read Spotify), iHeartRadio is a good alternative and works well with my Bluetooth stereo, but still has some limitations. GrooveShark needs to work on their web interface, and who knows how long they’ll actually be around. New to the streaming music playground is Piki, which just came out of beta testing and should be available for all your devices soon. Piki is the same but different. When you sign up, it asks you to pick a few songs you really like then develops a station based on your choices. Additionally, it connects you with other users with similar preferences, thereby ‘crowd sourcing” your musical tastes. Piki is free, and has no listening caps or hourly limits. There are a certain number of skips you’re allowed but it’s more than Pandora and iHeartRadio. Download it here and give it a try! ~cw4ll

Twenty Years of a Free & Open Web

Today is the twentieth anniversary of the World Wide Web, and without this royalty free piece of software you wouldn’t be able to read this post today; at least not the way we have become accustomed to looking at the web. On April 30th 1993, CERN (yes that CERN) published a document allowing others to use the technology freely so that others could setup, and use web servers across the globe, therefore creating the communication platform we use today to look at everything from cat videos to recipes to MIT lectures to more cat videos. Thankfully, Al Gore didn’t invent the world wide web. I don’t think I or anyone else would want to live in that Inconvenient world. It was actually British physicist Tim Berners-Lee who is credited with the first website info.cern.ch, which today has a tribute to the anniversary of probably one of the greatest communication inventions to date. At that time, the internet was already being used for corporate and government communication and had a large set of standards for communicating between other connected computers. What the W3 did was allow anyone to post and easily view this information in a way that was relatively easy. By late 1993, there were an estimated 500 web servers already online. Twenty years later and there are over 630 million websites and billions of pages. In 2012, we added 51 million new websites, including this one! Want all the nerd-a-licious facts and numbers? Check them out here. ~cw4ll

Thrift Store Shopping

mackA lot of us were thrift store shoppers before Macklemore started singing about it. Even though I have always loved finding great deals at local shops, now I’m even more obsessed because I like to resell stuff and collect vintage items for crafts. So I shop thrift stores A LOT. If you’re into it, check out Thethriftshopper.com. Now when you are out of town, you can enter the city or zip code and find out from this site where all the thrift stores are. Not only that, people rate them and add reviews too. If you’re super cheap, there are sometimes coupons too, but come on! Find out hours to the nearest store, donation center, or add stores you know of to the directory and keep this great idea going. ~Dutch

FocusTwist

photo (1)

So you’re an Instagram junkie, but your iPhone camera isn’t cutting it. You want those pretty bokeh effects but you’re not willing to shell out the cash for a Lytro light field camera, which lets you focus pictures after you take the photo. FocusTwist has got you covered. It takes several photo’s simultaneously with different focus points, afterwards it lets you adjust the focus and blur. Therefore, giving your smartphone camera the ability take those tasty bohek photos without the cost of a pricey camera. You end up with a high quality image for the price of a 2 buck app. ~cwall

Stay in Touch

Following the events that happened yesterday during the Boston Marathon, cell phone service was reportedly suspended, and later due to heavy traffic was temporarily down. If you’ve ever been in an area struck by a natural disaster or other horrific event, or had a friend or family member in the area, you know the immediate desire to communicate with the outside world. As demonstrated yesterday, cell phone service is probably not the best or most reliable way to keep in touch with loved ones, but a smart phone can still your best friend in case of emergency. Start with the options that let the most people know your status – good or bad – email, Facebook, twitter, etc… Rather than using cell service, switch over to WiFi, hopefully someone in the area has an open connection available, there are even emergency apps available designed to be configured in advance to let a specific group of people know your whereabouts. Wired.com put together a better list than I can provide you with, check it out here. One of the best tips that I hadn’t thought of was changing your voice mail to a message to callers letting them know you’re safe, that way even if phones are down, callers will get your message. Whether you’re a first responder, lending a helping hand, or a victim, communicating with the people you care about is a top priority. “An ounce of prevention…” ~cw4ll