Category ArchiveMobile Phones

Hardware &Mobile Phones &nob &Software Wes Novack on 09 Feb 2014

Zubie Key can turn your vehicle into a smartcar

This post brought to you by Zubie. All opinions are 100% mine.

These days we’re all connected to the ‘net at home with PC’s and tablets, and on the go with smartphones, but what about while in the car? The majority of automobiles on the road today just aren’t taking advantage of mobile network Internet connectivity, smart apps and the diagnostic code information that is available via the built in vehicle dumbputers.


The proliferation of smartcars is assuredly in our future, but until then, Zubie is rushing to bridge the gap with the Zubie Key product and its associated services.

Here’s the abbreviated product rundown from Zubie themselves.

“Zubie is a connected car solution that makes driving and owning a car safer, easier and less expensive. It uses a smart plug-in device, the Zubie Key, to plug directly into the car’s On-board Diagnostics (OBD) port and capture valuable vehicle and driving data for car owners and drivers — location tracking, driving patterns, vehicle health and alerts, and more.”

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Hardware &Mobile Phones &nob &Online Video &Software Wes Novack on 03 Feb 2014

Dropcam cloud-based Wi-Fi video monitoring

This post brought to you by Dropcam. All opinions are 100% mine.

Networked and DVR-connected video cameras targeted for home use have been available for years, but what has been missing from the market is an easy-to-setup and easy-to-use Wi-Fi video camera and associated services.

Meet Dropcam


Dropcam has filled the void with its line of feature-packed Wi-Fi video cameras and services, designed to be used for home security and home monitor purposes.

“Dropcam is a cloud-based Wi-Fi video monitoring service with free live streaming, two-way talk and remote viewing that makes it easy to stay connected with places, people and pets, no matter where you are.”

Sounds good so far. Let’s take a look at the main advertised features of Dropcam, with my commentary added below each one.

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Hardware &Mobile Phones &nob &Software Wes Novack on 25 Aug 2013

Republic Wireless: Wi-Fi powered mobile phone service

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Republic Wireless for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Republic Wireless: Wi-Fi powered mobile phone service

Republic WirelessEver since I first caught wind of Republic Wireless and their Wi-Fi powered mobile phones and plans, I was intrigued by their innovative offerings. Since then, I have been closely watching their progress and public updates.

Republic Wireless is shaking up the mobile phone industry by providing monthly service at extremely low rates. For a mere $19 per month (plus tax, which averages $3.57 a month for Republic customers), you can get unlimited calling, text and data. All with no contract, no caps and no overage fees.

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Mobile Phones &Software Wes Novack on 16 Jun 2013

Do NOT click on that email link

Do NOT click on that email link

Scammers, “hackers”, phishers and evil-doers are all over the Internet these days. Facing security threats is now a routine part of online life and you must learn to protect yourself, or else you are at risk of device sabotage, information theft or worse.

As the title of this post suggests, No, you should NOT click on that email link (or open that attachment).

Today my wife received an email that appeared to come from a friend, which is a common trick that I’m seeing more and more of these days. The malicious sender will blast out emails using the display name of one of your friends, possibly culled from Facebook, a compromised email account or another source. This is called social engineering, as a user is much more likely to trust an email from one of their friends compared to an email coming from some stranger or an unknown email account.

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Hardware &Mobile Phones Steven Kippel on 18 May 2013

Fail: Repair of smartphone glass goes wrong

Fail: Repair of smartphone glass goes wrong

I’ve seen so many different videos walking through the replacement of a broken screen for a Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone. Enough that I felt I could succeed. I did not.

A couple months back I was taking my phone from my pocket and it fell in just the right spot that the protective case didn’t stand a chance; perfectly on the corner at an angle where the case wasn’t covering it. The cracks were unsightly and spread from that corner up about a quarter inch into the display area, but mainly obscured the permanent soft buttons. I put a membrane on the screen to avoid finger tip irritation and researched how to replace the glass.

It seemed so simple.

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Entertainment &Mobile Phones Wes Novack on 08 May 2013

It’s not a podcast if you don’t offer a subscription URL

It’s not a podcast if you don’t offer a subscription URL

I have been on a bit of a podcast kick lately, subscribing to a multitude of shows and then listening to them from my Android smartphone while I am on the go. I use the Google Listen app, which is no longer supported, but there are many free alternatives out there if you are looking for an Android podcast app.

One of the most annoying problems that I have been running into while searching out good podcasts is that many of the shows that I am interested in make it extremely difficult to find their subscription/feed URL, or they don’t even have a subscription URL at all! In the latter case, I argue that they should not even be called a podcast.

Let’s define podcast

The Wikipedia page for Podcast currently leads with this sentence: “A podcast is a type of digital media consisting of an episodic series of audio radio, video, PDF, or ePub files subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to a computer or mobile device.” Emphasis mine.

Merriam-Webster defines podcast as “a program (as of music or talk) made available in digital format for automatic download over the Internet.” Emphasis mine.

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Mobile Phones &Software Wes Novack on 05 Nov 2012

Update Android contacts with Facebook contact Sync

Update Android contacts with Facebook contact Sync

One of the first things that many Android users discovered after upgrading to Ice Cream Sandwich (version 4.0.x), much to their dismay, was that their phones would no longer associate their friends’ Facebook photos with their Google contact records. Previous versions of Android would automatically associate a Google contact with their Facebook profile photo & details, when using the contact sync feature of the Facebook Android app.

I was so disappointed to see that this feature was no longer available on my brand new Galaxy Nexus. It really bugs the hell out of me to have contacts in my phone that do not have an associated photo or image.

The break-down appears to be due to continued rivalry and feuding between Google and Facebook, who no longer want to allow each-other the competitive advantage of being able to export/import/sync contacts from one service to another. Fortunately there are a few workarounds to help you out with this issue.


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