Long Flight Tips

How to make long flights tolerable for just $60

By on July 23, 2014 at 2:31 PM.

How to make long flights tolerable for just $60

Flying is amazing. You can start your day in Russia, and finish it in Reno. You can travel in relative comfort at over 500 miles per hour. Of course, the operative word here is relative. Few things are sweeter than figuring out a way to cruise in business class as you cross an ocean or two, but if I’m honest, it’s pretty impractical for the vast majority of humans. So, do you squeeze yourself into an impossibly tight seat for 13 hours to get from Atlanta to Seoul, or do you stay home and spend the day clicking through Google Images?

You go.

I’ve endured my fair share of excruciatingly long flights in economy class, and there’s really no redeeming quality to the experience. The only benefit is that you arrive somewhere different. In fact, a quick Google search for “how to survive long flights” yields page upon page of tips from here, there, and yonder. I suppose I’m adding yet another to the pile. More →

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Opinions
Windows Phone Vs iPhone

Are we witnessing Windows Phone’s last stand?

By on July 22, 2014 at 3:15 PM.

Are we witnessing Windows Phone’s last stand?

Much has been written about Microsoft’s unsettling plan to cut loose some 18,000 of its employees by the end of 2014. You could argue that it’s a necessary evil, or you could argue that it’s a short-sighted misstep. From what I’ve read, this is about Microsoft repositioning itself for the current reality it finds itself a part of.

In many ways, Ballmer never took the steps to shape the company into a viable behemoth. Just as he laughed off the iPhone in 2007, he never really figured out that the company was slipping in a lot of ways — not the least of which was mindshare.

Out of the 18,000 announced cuts, a staggering 12,500 will come from Nokia’s devices division. A division that Ballmer was hellbent on acquiring before heading for the exits. To me, however, the question shouldn’t be on Microsoft’s commitment (or lack thereof) to building phones. The question should be about Windows Phone.

I’ve long since believed there are some battles worth fighting, and some worth conceding. The trick, as you know, is figuring out which slots where. More →

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Review
Kenu Airframe Plus

Kenu Airframe+: One of our favorite smartphone accessories just got even better

By on July 22, 2014 at 2:00 PM.

Kenu Airframe+: One of our favorite smartphone accessories just got even better

Kenu’s Airframe is my favorite in-car phone mount, but for those of you with phablets or bulky cases, it’s a bit small. The company is seemingly well aware of that, and is making strides to address a broader market with the introduction of the Airframe+. Weighing under an ounce and supporting phones with screen sizes as large as 6-inches diagonally, the sized-up holster addresses one of the few gripes I had with the original.

I’ve been using the Airframe+ for the past couple of weeks, and I can safely say that it’s a marked improvement over the already-impressive Airframe. More →

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Opinions
Apple IBM Partnership

Apple’s enterprise deal with IBM: The dawn of a new era at Apple?

By on July 16, 2014 at 10:44 AM.

Apple’s enterprise deal with IBM: The dawn of a new era at Apple?

At the conclusion of this year’s WWDC, I remarked that the Apple of 2014 was starkly different from the Apple which had showed itself at events in prior years. For the first time, Apple had let its guard down with iOS, inviting developers to build third-party keyboards, invade the Notification Center drop-down screen, and talk openly about the changes in iOS 8. Refreshing doesn’t even begin to describe it.

But, as they say, actions speak a lot louder than words on a Keynote slide. This week’s blockbuster deal between one of the most influential outfits in consumer electronics (Apple) and an absolute behemoth in the enterprise space (IBM) speaks volumes about the former’s willingness to look beyond Cupertino for solutions. Pundits have been wondering where Apple’s next revenue hike would come from, and as it turns out, it may arrive from solutions created in conjunction with companies it used to call rivals. More →

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Android One Subsidies

Will Google subsidize data to get the next 5 billion people connected?

By on June 26, 2014 at 4:04 PM.

Will Google subsidize data to get the next 5 billion people connected?

For as nifty and novel as Glass, Google+, and 60fps gaming on a high-end Android device are, those aren’t items that will truly drive Google’s growth in the next decade. Indeed, something far less headline-worthy will be responsible, and it’s something that piqued my interest during this week’s Google I/O keynote. More →

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Android One

Google’s Android One: Bringing high-quality performance to those who can’t afford it

By on June 26, 2014 at 1:22 PM.

Google’s Android One: Bringing high-quality performance to those who can’t afford it

Android One won’t make too many headlines, and you won’t read too many reviews of handsets that emerge due to its existence. But in my mind, it was the most significant announcement made by Google at I/O 2014. In a nutshell, Android One is a new Google project that will provide reference hardware to any manufacturer that wants it. The typical Android One smartphone will boast a 4.5-inch display, an FM radio, a removable SD card, and room for two SIM cards. Google sets the standards, someone else builds it.

And each Android One phone will cost $100 or less. More →

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Telecommuting Policy

Our society’s view on commuting (and telecommuting) is still painfully warped

By on June 25, 2014 at 4:14 PM.

Our society’s view on commuting (and telecommuting) is still painfully warped

A Google employee peers down at an Android Wear smartwatch demo, and notices that — based on real-time traffic information — it would take him 55 minutes to get to work. “Commute’s not looking too bad!,” he exclaims, before swiping to the next card on the demo.

How severely damaged must our society’s state of mind be to make such a comment? More →

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Review
Best iPhone Car Mount

Kenu Airframe review: The best in-car smartphone mount for travelers

By on June 11, 2014 at 3:35 PM.

Kenu Airframe review: The best in-car smartphone mount for travelers

I’m hoping that things change in the (near) future, but for now, my smartphone outsmarts any in-car navigation system that I’ve seen. To date, I have yet to find anything as excellent as having Google Maps leading the way, which presents a relatively simple problem: How is one supposed to mount his or her phone in their vehicle without leaving any permanent scars? More →

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“Three inseparable friends enjoying a laugh, and one moron in the corner drooling over some meaningless Silicon Valley gossip.”
Social Media Negativity

A great idea, ruined: Perpetual negativity is driving me away from social

By on June 10, 2014 at 1:51 PM.

A great idea, ruined: Perpetual negativity is driving me away from social

I’m spending far less time on social media these days than I once did. A combination of factors have led to this. First off, there’s the inherent risk of saying something that ends up crossing an esoteric line and gets you fired while you’re high above the Atlantic en route to Africa. Second, it’s simply too noisy to make sense of in any sane amount of time. And third, I’ve found that focusing more on my surroundings — things that I choose to take enjoyment in — leaves less time for negativity to find its way into my soul via someone else’s keystroke. More →

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Featured
iOS 8 Features

OS X isn’t becoming more like iOS – they’re maturing, together

By on June 3, 2014 at 11:15 AM.

OS X isn’t becoming more like iOS – they’re maturing, together

Sighs generally signal one of two things. Oftentimes, sighs are exhaled with exasperation, highlighting frustration or disappointment. But every so often, on days like Monday, sighs of relief bubble up.

For years now, I’ve relied on a MacBook of some description as my primary work machine. I typically have between 15 and 25 apps open, with many accomplishing something or another in the background. I know no foreign languages, but could probably quote at least four dozen OS X keyboard shortcuts on command.

I’m the definition of a power user, and I was starting to think that Apple was hanging guys like me out to dry. More →

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“For this thing to go mainstream, it’s over the air or bust.”
— Darren Murph
Featured
Wireless Charging Solutions

Where is the wireless charging revolution?

By on May 23, 2014 at 3:08 PM.

Where is the wireless charging revolution?

January 8th, 2009. On this day, in the midst of the usual noise that surrounds the year’s most extravagant electronics show, Palm debuted the Pre. Outside of its radical software, the most notable hardware feature was one that truly was ahead of its time… years ahead, in fact. The phone supported wireless charging, with the Touchstone charger ushering in the idea well before most anyone else was even thinking about it.

Half a decade has passed, and we’re still waiting for wireless charging to matter. More →

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“It won’t be long before the mainstream public begins to wonder if the latest $599 Galaxy S is truly worth $400 more than a $199 phone like the Moto G.”
— Darren Murph
Featured
Smartphone Subsidies US

Is America getting over its smartphone subsidy addiction?

By on May 22, 2014 at 2:05 PM.

Is America getting over its smartphone subsidy addiction?

You’ve seen the advertisements, and you’ve seen them for years. New smartphones for nothing beyond a signature, with the latest and greatest running just $199.

It’s all a complete fabrication.

In a bid to lock customers into long-term contracts, America’s preeminent wireless carriers have had a history of subsidizing the phones that the masses want. What happens is a masking of the true price of a phone.

If you asked most folks what a new iPhone would set you back, you’d probably hear “around $200.” What you wouldn’t hear is the rest of that sentence: “…by committing to pay a wireless carrier hundreds or thousands of dollars over the next 24 months.” More →

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Fake Lightning Cable Review

Warning: Don’t waste your money on knockoff iPhone Lightning cables

By on May 19, 2014 at 3:36 PM.

Warning: Don’t waste your money on knockoff iPhone Lightning cables

When Apple ushered in the Lightning cable with the iPhone 5, millions of folks groaned collectively. A new connector means new accessories and outdated doodads, but in this particular example, it also represented a serious shot against piracy. As it turns out, Apple detests knockoffs… even when it comes to cabling. So, with Lightning, the company included a chip inside of each plug that would be next to impossible to reverse engineer and ape. Moreover, Apple added yet another expense to reproducing the cable, which would no doubt cut into the profit margins for would-be knockoff artists.

Today, a three meter Lightning cable from Apple is priced at $20. Which, by all measures, is firmly in Monster Cable territory on the ripoff meter. Thankfully, quite a few “Apple certified” options do exist, including a smattering of $14 versions available across the web.

But, being the stubborn knucklehead that I am, I just couldn’t be bothered with paying such outrageous rates for a couple of spare cables. More →

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