Authors Posts by GrowMap

GrowMap

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Best known for writing about Small Business Advice, Gail Gardner is known as @GrowMap on Twitter and other social networks. She sometimes writes about the latest gadgets here and on DIRJournal. Why not subscribe to the entire family of DIRJournal blogs so you can read all her content?

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Smartphone with app icons in a circle around it
Image Credit: ©Depositphotos/koya979

While we would usually think of rooting any device as only for techie geeks, in the case of Android the practice is so widespread there are even apps to help you do it.

There are some risks that if you don’t do it correctly you will turn your Android phone into a paperweight, so DO be sure to follow the instructions.

Rooting Android is NOT Jail Breaking

Just to be clear, rooting simply means gaining access to the root directory of the operating system that your smart phone runs. That is different than jailbreaking.

As Gary at TrendingPhones explains in How to Root Android:

“Rooting is something which is allowed and it is needed to run some applications. There is little to no chance of damaging or ruining your phone more info

because if you have problems attempting to root your device you can simply restore to factory settings.”

Gary assures us that this is the very best video explaining the process:

How to Root Your Android Phone [VIDEO]

Many apps need you to have root access, so more and more people are rooting their Android phones.

What about you? Is your phone rooted? How did the process go for you?
Tell us why you did it and how it works for you in the comments.

I’m sure you will want to check out these Best Android Apps, too.

CES 2013 Best Products and Trends

CES is where manufacturers roll out their latest goodies and serious reviewers share what they love – and hate – about new gadgets of all kinds.

This infographic, courtesy of The Editors at Electronics Reviews shares the very best in these categories:

CES 2013 Trends:  What Will They Think of Next?
Image source: Best Choice Reviews

Have you seen these new devices? Were you at CES 2013?
Tell us what you like and don’t like in the comments below.

Sony Xperia water-resistant phone
Sony Xperia Z Water-resitstant phone. Click image to see full specs & more photos.

Sony kept specs for their new flagship smartphone under wraps until yesterday at CES 2013. Previously some images had been leaked and rumors indicated the phone would be an Xperia C650x Odin.

What Sony actually announced at CES 2013 was the Sony Xperia Z and ZL.
Whether this is the same phone or a different model has not yet been determined.

Only now can we share with you the complete details on this new phone Sony hopes will be their giant killer flagship product. The camera on this phone is getting rave reviews – but the most unique feature is being fully touted visually.

Xperia Z ~ The First Water-resistant Smartphone

The coolest thing about the new Xperia Z is that it is water-resistant – but given the way it is being demonstrated by reviewers, buyers will think it is waterproof.  There are videos of this phone being totally underwater in a fishbowl (for 10 minutes the video claims) and this video from CES 2013 of Sony’s Dunking Test:

Hopefully Xperia Z buyers will realize that the phone is only water
resistant if the plugs are all closed and in good condition!

Being water-resistant is a very useful feature for any smartphone. Who hasn’t accidentally splashed liquid on a phone or even had one fall out of their pocket into the toilet? Note that the phone is WATER resistant.

While it will stand up to other liquids better than most phones IF the plugs are closed, remember that anything sweetened or carbonated could be a very different story.  You can often dump water out of a computer keyboard, let it dry, and it will still function. Sweeteners will stop your PC keyboard from working and substances like Coca-Cola are even worse because they will lift land patterns right off circuit boards!

In a pinch you can use cola to clean your battery cables – so don’t let water-resistance cause you to take unnecessary risks with even a water-resistant smartphone.

SONY XPERIA ODIN

Trendingphones tipped us to their post about the Sony Xperia Odin being the top search on their site, so we know that Sony has been able to generate interest and curiosity about this new phone.

GearBurn writer Robin-Leigh Chetty provided more details about Sony Odin models, but not enough to know whether the Z is the rumored Odin or another phone with the Odin still under wraps.

SitesGadget reported the Sony Xperia Odin and Yuga Comes With A Slim Body which these two new phones do have. This post by Chris Smith at AndroidAuthority gives the Xperia Odin and Yuga Specs – and it sounds like the Z.

PhoneArena speculated that Sony would call the Odin the Xperia X and the Sony C660X would be called the Xperia Z.

VIDEO REVIEWS of the Sony Xperia Z:

In this video, PocknetNow.com shares unknown before now details in the video below and their Sony Xperia Z Review.

Sony Xperia Z Specs:
  • Water resistant – possibly even waterproof
  • 5″ HD display ~ 1080p screen
  • 13 MP camera
  • Quad-core SoC
  • 2400 mAh battery
  • Sony NFC TV
  • Google’s Android Jelly Bean OS
  • Available colors: purple, white, black

Sony Xperia ZL is similar in specs to the Xperia Z, but not water resistant.

SONY XPERIA Z:

 What do YOU think about Sony smartphones?
Do you own one? Are you planning to buy one?
Tell us in the comments.

Selecting keyboards for PCs
Image Credit: ©Depositphotos/rozelt

Keyboard manufacturers have quietly changed their keyboards and they do not make it easy to notice BEFORE you order it online or buy it and get it home.

Before you buy a new keyboard, here’s what you need to know:

Many are NOT traditional desktop size or layout any more. The default has changed to a laptop layout with flatter keys in a different place. The keys may also be smaller than you’re used to and the keyboard may be flimsy and have a totally different feel.

Here are the choices you have to make to choose the right keyboard:

  • Wireless, USB (flat connection), PS/2 (round, purple connector) or ADP jack (Apple) ~ Not sure what these are? See the images on this page.
  • Layout: QWERTY (what most of us use), AZERTY, QWERTZ, HCESAR or one-handed?
  • Standard (traditional desktop), laptop (flatter, smaller with the insert, home, end, delete, page up and page down keys in a different location than PCs originally used),
  • Standard, illuminated, lighted or backlit ?
  • Special keyboards; ergonomic, multi-media, gaming, “Internet”, membrane, glass, larger keys or larger print type

 

USB or PS/2 TYPE CONNECTIONS?

Not a computer geek? One thing you’ll want to know is the difference between commonly used cables. Originally, mice and keyboards used what are known as PS/2 connectors. The keyboard connection is purple and the mouse is green. See the image below:

Old style computer keyboard connection
jack PC keyboard with PS/2 connection ~ Image Credit: ©Depositphotos/jannyjus

Newer keyboards and mice and many other peripheral devices usually attach using USB connections. (See the image below.) A USB cable has a flat end and newer computers have many USB ports on them – sometimes on both the front and the back. There are also storage devices that plug into USB ports as do wireless keyboards and mice.

Newer PC keyboards have USBs
PC keyboard with USB cable ~ Image Credit: ©Depositphotos/eteimaging

Don’t worry if you don’t understand all of the above. Unless you or the person you’re buying for have special needs, here are some tips to help you:

PC KEYBOARD BUYING TIPS:

  • If the person using it primarily uses a laptop they might want one of the new laptop layout keyboards so the keys are in the same place and the keyboard feels the same.
  • For a desktop computer user or someone who does data input or types for a living, avoid the new smaller laptop layouts and choose a standard size and layout with curved key tops.
  • Serious bloggers who spend a lot of time online and especially those who are over 40 might love a lighted, large print keyboard like the AZIO 3 color LED Bold x2 Large Print keyboard I’m typing this on.
  • If maximum productivity interests you and are willing to learn a new layout, consider testing a one-handed keyboard
  • Some swear by ergonomic and split keyboards, but most who try them don’t like them or end up sticking with them. More might use them if the cost of trying them out weren’t so high.

You can’t really know how you will like a keyboard until you use it. I had a friend pick up a replacement keyboard and that is when I found out that the default style had changed.

YOU MAY NOT LIKE THESE KEYBOARDS

The new Logitech Wireless Combo MK360 is very different than a traditional Logitech. Even though it was obvious the layout was different, the size was smaller, the keys were flat and even the mouse was downsized, I thought I would eventually get used to it. I didn’t.

These smaller, flatter keyboards are harder to stay centered on so you make more typos. The little nub that tells you you’re on the right keys is less obvious so when you move the mouse and back you end up on the wrong key.

The smaller keys and mouse make my hand cramp – and I have really small hands. So I really doubt that men or anyone who types a lot would prefer this smaller size.

It is likely that many major brands will be defaulting to a laptop type keyboard, so if you use a desktop or type for a living you’ll want to be more selective. If you primarily use a laptop, you may want to scoop up this deal:

Logitech MK360 mouse keyboard wireless combo
Clearance Priced Logitech Wireless Combo MK360 at EGAGroupUSA.net

YOU MAY LIKE THIS

I almost didn’t order the AZIO keyboard because some of the reviewers did not like the difference in how the keyboard feels. It has a lighter, bouncier touch than the keyboards I usually prefer.

The keyboard having choices of three colors of lighting (blue, red, or purple) makes it easier on my eyes. Personally I prefer the blue, but reviewers have other preferences.

For me as a power user, there is no perfect keyboard because what
I most want is a lighted keyboard with curved keys, larger type,
and action like the original IBM and DELL keyboards had.

The only way you’ll know for sure is to try one – and they are fairly inexpensive, so if being able to type without other lighting on and read keys in less than optimum conditions appeals to you, I encourage you to take one for a spin.

My eyes and hands appreciate the one I have. The image below shows the three colors and the larger keys with big letters. Perfect for someone who needs reading glasses, but doesn’t wear them when typing. Click the image below for product reviews and more details.

AZIO Large Print Lighted PC Keyboards
Image Credit: SuperMediaStore.com ~ They have this keyboard at a great price.

WHERE TO BUY COMPUTER KEYBOARDS

If you’re buying online, you may have to look at many images to try to figure out which keyboards have flat versus curved keys and which layout they use (standard or laptop).  You can also read the reviews to help you decide. See my tips in Deals or Duds: How to Save Big and Avoid Getting Burnt.

While big box stores and Amazon are good places to read reviews and see all the choices, I encourage you to support your small local computer repair shop or independent online ecommerce store.

Amazon and corporate brands are cheaper because they squeeze their suppliers and retailers and keep the profits for themselves. This creates economic decline and eventually we end up with only businesses that are barely surviving or have already failed and jobs that do not pay a living wage.

Spend a little more and have the satisfaction of knowing you made the world a better place. You’ll also get better service and have someone to get assistance from when you have a computer problem.

Image Credit: ©Depositphotos/Leonardi

BEST ANDROID APPS

Did you know there are an average of 103.9 Android apps launched every day? How can you possibly figure out which apps are worth downloading? Get recommendations! Here are some posts worth reading:

If you love your apps, do your app developers a favor and instead of buying from Amazon Apps, buy from these top alternative app distribution sites so more of the profits goes to the little guy:

  • Slide Me
  • GetJar
  • Mobango
  • Appsfire

PROMOTING ANDROID APPS

Why do some apps make the big time and others fizzle? How do app developers and app distributors promote apps?

Sell more Android apps

MOBILE APP DEVELOPMENT:

Need someone to make a mobile app for you? Check out these listings:

Do you develop Android apps (or applications for iOS, iPhone or other mobile devices? Get listed in DIRJournal so people can find, hire and buy from you.

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Dress your rat up as R2D2

Who could better appreciate R2D2 costumes more than people who love gadgets? Check out the huge variety and we challenge you to share any you have seen.

Young costume designer Henry created this costume or his white albino mouse – or is that a rat? Either way, you can find out more about Henry on his site Ringo’s Rat Tales.

Dress your rat up as R2D2

We have an R2D2 rat so we must need an R2D2 Cat

Cheezeburger r2d2 costumes for cats:

R2D2 Costumes for Kids

The cutest R2D2 costumes are for children. Here are some of our favorites:

Home-made R2D2 costumes for kids

Nathan’s mom made this R2D2 costume from Tyvek, a clothes hamper
and various tapes (duct tape, electrical tape, Tyvek tape)

Make an R2D2 costume out of a cardboard box

I don’t know what it is about this R2D2 from a cardboard box? –
but we like it. Found on Twicsy. Shared on Twitter by @Nooli68

R2D2 costume for toddlers

Adorable Star Wars Clothing for Toddlers

Create an R2D2 Costume for special needs children in wheelchairs
Image Credit: eSpecial Needs Blog

How To Create A Special Halloween Costume For Your Child

R2D2 Costume won costume contest for tiana martin

Tiana Martin won Best Individual Costume for her R2D2

Create Your Own R2D2 Costume

Even Wired.com shares How to Create Your Own R2D2 Costume

How to make an R2D2 costumeR2D2 Costume Mom Blogger and Etsy Seller Morgan Moore made

Laundry Hamper R2D2 costume

Make your own R2D2 costume out of a laundry hamper.

c3po and r2d2 couple costumes

If you want to make your own homemade costumes check out the other
R2D2, C3PO and Star Wars costumes at Coolest Homemade Costumes.

Cheezeburger Cat
Image Credit: Flaming Zombie Monkeys

Have you seen a great R2D2 costume we should include here?
Share a link to it in the comments and we will put the best ones into the post,
with attribution to the source and who shared it.

 

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Apple Stock Drops Over Lower Than Expected Sales

While one analyst claimed lines were 89% longer and this C/Net iPhone 5 Review gushes that this is the “iPhone we’ve always wanted”, Apple’s stock has already dropped because sales of the iPhone 5 are less than expected.

iPhone 5 Social Media Mentions

Almost as many negative comments as positive have been recorded on social networks – which are quite likely reducing desire to buy the new iPhone. These graphs show there is not a great outpouring of positive comments on social media about the iPhone 5.

Further analysis would be necessary to find out exactly which of the issues are causing the most negative comments. See the video reviews below for what those issues are.

iPhone Video Reviews

C/Net Video iPhone 5 Review Pros:

  • Larger screen (longer)
  • Faster processor
  • 4G speeds which can be twice many people’s home wifi

iPhone5 Review Cons:

  • Some networks can’t do voice and data at the same time
  • iPhone 4 cables won’t fit

 

Engadget iPhone 5 Video Review

  • IOS 6.0
  • Extra row for apps at the bottom
  • 1136×640 display size
  • Panorama Mode
  • Passbook
  • Thinner, lighter, taller than 4S
  • Two tone colors
  • 8 mega pixel camera

Social Media Sentiment

Murray Newlands talks about why he feels fans are so disappointed in this short video:

Having watched those iPhone Video reviews what do you think?

Is that the iPhone you’ve been waiting for or will having to buy new cables, or not being able to use voice and data at the same time on Sprint or Verizon or not liking the new Mapping app put you off buying?

Tell us whether you’ve bought one, want one –
or decided it isn’t for you in the comments.

SOCIAL

241FansLike
102Subscribers+1
62FollowersFollow

WEB APPS