High-Tech Ways to Get More Done on the Road

16 December, 2014 Life No comments
High-Tech Ways to Get More Done on the Road

How can you stay more productive while on the road this holiday season, even if you don’t consider yourself a technology expert? It’s a great question, and one we’re proud to have teamed up with our friends at Hyatt Place to answer as part of its Seamless Travel Series. If you’re a road warrior hoping to stay up to speed, take a look at the following video from an appearance on The Daily Buzz TV show in which we provide some handy hints, tips and expert advice, as well as suggestions about the latest and greatest new gadgets and apps, that can help high-tech travelers stay ahead of the curve.

Also, a few simple ideas to keep in mind right from the get-go:

  • Get connected to cloud computing services so you can share your desktop and files online virtually anytime, anywhere you travel from nearly any device
  • Pack extra batteries, recharging energy cases, and long-lasting laptops along on your travels so you don’t have to worry about your plans short-circuiting last-minute
  • Grab apps that can help you manage your flight schedules, reservations, and appointments on the fly
  • Book a hotel that with lots of amenities – for example, Hyatt Place doesn’t just offer WiFi… it offers free, dependable, high-speed WiFi throughout the hotel, as well as in-room USB ports and lots of comfortable workspaces if you need them. If you forget your phone charger, you can also grab a loaner unit from its Odds & Ends program.
  • Pack multi-purpose gizmos like eReaders that let you run apps that let you perform all sorts of functions for work and play, so you only have to cram one gadget into your carry-on – that way, you can stay productive or access music, movies and games to unwind with right from the same screen.

As you can see, technology can make life much simpler and more seamless for today’s traveler. All it takes to get synced up these days? A few minutes of your time, which high-tech solutions can help you get back 10X over with little effort – call them the holiday gift that keeps on giving.  

Last-Minute High-Tech Holiday Gifts

11 December, 2013 Life No comments
Last-Minute High-Tech Holiday Gifts

One of the nice parts about shopping for last-minute holiday gifts this year is the wealth of high-tech options available for every age, interest and budget. In case you should find yourself sprinting to find the perfect present though, it’s not always easy to choose the best pick for friends and family, however. But fear not, help is at hand: We’ve teamed up with several leading manufacturers to offer a few ideas that can save you time, effort and energy when it comes to gift-giving this season.

For starters, if you’re shopping for a home entertainment fan, check out the Samsung Shape Wireless Bluetooth Speaker. It’s a sleek system that offers an attractive, eye-catching design and wireless entertainment throughout your whole house from a variety of music sources – for example, smartphones and tablets. It offers an awesome wireless experience, letting you listen to your entire music library, radio stations and music services on-demand via Bluetooth or WiFi. Easy plug-and-play setup also makes it simple to install so you can get right to rocking your own wireless surround sound system.

If you’re a big fan of streaming music, movies and video games though, it’s important to note: Your connected experience is only as good as the weakest link in your home network. With more and more devices connecting to home wireless networks at one time, response times can slow and frustration increase. Happily, you can help the whole family turbo-charge downloads and boost streaming capabilities with the Motorola-ARRIS SURFboard SBG6782-AC Gateway. It’s a two in one modem and router that packs the latest technology and blazing speeds to allow everyone to use their gadgets happily.

With so many devices in our home entertainment centers now, however, controlling them can get somewhat complicated. So if you’re looking for a great gift for a DIYer guy that can help them control all their favorite gadgets, see the Logitech Harmony Ultimate as well. It’s a universal remote that lets you control all your devices, from TVs to Blu-ray players, Philips Hue lights and even the new Xbox One, even through cabinets and walls. You can even create activities like “watch a movie” and watch as the Harmony Ultimate powers up your TV, receiver, Blu-ray player and dims those lights.

If you’re shopping for an iPhone 5 owner, have a look at Duracell Powermat products as well, which help increase battery life so you’re never caught without power. Case in point: The Powerset II, the ultimate charging system for the iPhone 5. It includes an Access Case that offers wireless charging through snap-on, snap-off batteries that are easily installed and more than double your mobile device’s battery life. It also includes a two-position mat so you can wirelessly charge two devices simultaneously. The Powerset II is on-sale through Christmas at AT&T Stores and DuracellPowermat.com as well – you can save $30, as the price has been reduced to just $99.

Of course, if you find yourself struggling to come up with ideas, be sure to swing by your local neighborhood RadioShack as well. They’ve got tech experts on-hand who can help you pick from a wide range of last-minute tech gifts like the AUVIO Folding Headphones with Mic, among many great choices for the holidays. You might also consider grabbing a RadioShack gift card as well, as techies can always have fun picking out their favorite devices. There’s even a Holiday Cash promotion running where you can get $10 back off on a $5 purchase.

As you can see, there’s no shortage of great last-minute holiday gift options to be had, so you’ll never have a problem finding something to quickly stash in your bag as you head out to visit friends and loved ones, or under the tree. Happy holidays!

Behind the App: Top Software Tools

Behind the App: Top Software Tools

At the recent Casual Connect show in San Francisco, we were excited to see video game makers offering a variety of products with broad appeal that even the most inexperienced and casual of app users could enjoy.  Surprisingly, the way in which they attack this problem – making games more intuitive and approachable – requires some unexpectedly complex technology and tricks that most users will never get to see.

While there are more than a few services, products and apps the average smartphone, social network or tablet PC user might be familiar with on display at Casual Connect, (such as life-sized Candy Crush Saga pieces walking around to promote King’s meg-ahit app) much of what was present at the show in San Francisco are behind-the-scenes services that help track users, integrate ads and maximize revenues for game makers.  That’s great in the majority of cases if you’re a developer who’s created an app, but of considerably less interest if you’re not a professional software maker. However, there are always some fun exceptions to the rule.

Following are six behind-the-scenes app services which quietly work hard to make players’ lives more fun and enjoyable. You may not recognize their names, but you can be glad these products are around, because they make the everyday experieneces we enjoy playing our favorite applications that much better.

Playphone – There’s probably an 83% chance that you’ve used PlayPhone’s service, and you may not even realize it.  That’s because the company now provides mobile app download solution for that percentage of the North American carriers’ mobile and smartphone products. Playphone designs app stores and the delivery platform for you to search and receive recommendations directly from your phone carriers.  With partnerships with AT&T, Verizon and the newly announced Sprint, the service they provide unwittingly touches the vast majority of app downloaders by providing the method for accessing content.

http://www.playphone.com/

Arkadium – Every month, millions of Americans play crosswords on newspaper websites, AARP.com, cable network pages and more.  But the LA Times, Discovery Network and dozens of more of these websites aren’t creating these games themselves.  A company named Arkadium creates, curates and manages the “Games” page of many of the country’s most popular site, and does so behind the scenes.  They’ve got hundreds of titles they rotate on these pages, but Sudoku and Crossword Puzzles are two of their most popular. 

http://www.arkadium.com/

Lootsie – While many are familiar with the concept of virtual achievements to help engage player interest in games, platforms like Lootsie are emerging which are translating in-app activities into real-life rewards.  Instead of working hard to earn virtual currency that is realistically worthless, Lootsie negotiaties with major brands to provide real-life benefits, such as Starbucks or Best Buy, and works across a number of different games.

https://www.lootsie.com/

PaeDae – Pronounced “PAY-day,” this service takes offering real-life rewards even further by allowing users to enter sweepstakes and giveaways without detracting from the in-game experience.  They work with advertising agencies and game developers to make any advertising fun, instead of obtrusive, and only collect users e-mail addresses instead of pages of “lead-generating” personal information. For example, in the wildly popular “Car Town” Facebook game, PaeDae integrates a giveaway with Jack in the Box that to the user seems just like another fun part of the game, with real world benefits.

http://paedae.com/

Tango – While many may be familiar with a business who provided face-to-face chat functionality before FaceTime stole its thunder, the company still has hundreds of millions of users of their chat client and has begun expanding their reach into the app market.  In addition to simple-to-play games that are contained within their chat client, they’re seamlessly integrating with other app publishers the ability to track, challenge and interact with your Tango friends in games like Candy Block Breaker and Jetpack Jinx.

http://www.tango.me/

FreeMyApps – If you download a lot of apps, you may want to consider getting them through FreeMyApps.  The company provides “points” for getting these through their service, and these points can be redeemed for iTunes credits.  The service is especially useful for kids who may have an iPod touch or an old iPhone who don’t have any money in their iTunes account as a way to earn credits that can be used to purchase a handful of paid apps. WEBSITE

http://www.freemyapps.com/