Technology for parents & kids: Hints, tips, online safety strategies & more.
Chances are that you and your cell phone are seldom separated. Statistics from Pew Research have shown that 2/3 of Americans who own a phone either sleep with their phone or keep it right next to their bed.
So what can you do to make sure nothing happens to your precious window to the outside world? Here are 10 tips to take better care of your cell phone or smartphone to help it last at least the full two years of your contract.
Buy a Case to Protect It – This may seem like a no-brainer, but even the simplest of protective cases will help protect against the inevitable accidental falls that your phone is going to take. Invest at least $25 in one to help protect your phone.
Improve Battery Life – Constant connections and multiple apps can drain your battery, so make sure you’re closed out fully of any apps you’re not losing, and if possible keep location-sharing services to a minimum. You should also disable any push notifications, and at least turn the phone to airplane mode if you’ll be traveling in and out of signals a lot.
Install Anti-Virus Software – Spotting viruses and malware has become second nature on personal computers, but it’s a lot trickier on mobile devices – and potentially more harmful considering the ease with which you use your phone to connect with others. Check out software from companies like Lookout Mobile Security or Webroot to keep your phone safe.
Managing Memory – To keep your phone running quickly and smoothly, don’t push the limits of its storage capacity. Keep some free space available, and remove photos and videos quickly after you’ve downloaded them. Cloud storage makes it easy to keep much of this information off your device’s physical memory.
Password Protect – Use a password to protect your cell phone when not in use. Many apps keep users signed in, so if your phone falls into the wrong hands it’s easy to access social networks as well as sensitive information like bank accounts or cell phone accounts. Using a password is an easy step to take to prevent harmless pranks, but can be a life-saver if your device is ever stolen.
Protect Payment Options – Cell phones are used for much more than just phone calls these days, and many store payment options with your account. Keep your accounts clear of personal information when possible, and never store credit card information on your phone.
Keep it Clean – Give your phone a good cleaning every couple of weeks, and consider using compressed air to blow dust or dirt particle out of crevices, especially if your phone still has physical buttons.
Install Anti-Theft Software – Tracking apps can be extremely useful if your phone is stolen, but also in helping locate family and colleagues. You can use anti-theft software to see your phone’s location on a Google Map, provided the phone is connected to a network.
Think About Temperature – Phones don’t like being too hot or too cold, so don’t leave it in the bathing sun next to you when sunbathing, or exposed to the wintry air on cold December days. Try and keep your phone the same temperature you like to be, and it will work better for longer.
Give it a Safe Home – There’s a place for everything, and everything in its place, and your cell phone should be no difference. Create a safe, peaceful haven at home with a charging station. Getting in the habit of leaving your phone in the same place will also help prevent you from losing it.
Small Business Expert
Essential hints, tips & business advice for startups & entrepreneurs.
Technology usually makes its way to our workplaces long before it comes home. That’s because so much tech is engineered with the idea of getting things done more quickly, more efficiently, and with less stress to the user. Neither every idea nor every new gadget that comes to the workplace or any place of business sticks around forever, but when we look at 2012’s big trends, we can get a rough idea of what’s going to be big through 2013.
Here are 5 predictions about 2013’s business trends.
More competition between mobile phones – The mobile market is crowded, and it’s only going to get more packed as the year goes on. The iPhone will remain a household name, but it’s already being pushed around in a big way by phones that run Android, including the Samsung Galaxy S III. We can expect more competitive pricing as a result.
Lots more competition between tablet computers – While smartphone competition looks to be hot through 2013, the tablet market will get outright fierce, particularly between 7” models. The iPad Mini should be a popular choice, though the Google Nexus 7’s attractive price certainly won’t go unnoticed by people looking to perform a little portable computing.
More use of the cloud – Hard drives and other physical storage mediums will continue to give way in favor of the convenience of cloud storage. The rise of tablets combined with usage of the cloud will see more employees working on the go as opposed to being chained to a desk and a PC.
More businesses implementing Wi-Fi Hotspots – More and more businesses, particularly retail and dining establishments, will offer free Wi-Fi to keep customers inside their walls. McDonalds and Starbucks have already done so with great success.
Long-term switch to HTML 5 and web apps – Over 2013, the popularity and usage of native apps will fade in favor of web-based apps running HTML 5. Apps certainly won’t disappear tomorrow, but consumers and users will find themselves directed to the web more and more often.
For more 2013 business trends, take a look at Gartner Inc’s 2013 trends.
Barely five years ago, nobody really knew what a smartphone was. Now it’s almost impossible to picture going through life without our apps, our games, our GPS, our compass, our planner, or our calendar. Smartphones have been so firmly cemented in our lives that it’s no longer a question of whether or not they’ll still be around in 2013: it’s a question of how many models will be available, and what will they all offer?
2013 should offer lots of variety for smartphones, not to mention attractive pricing. Looking to upgrade? Or, heck, thinking of finally netting your very first unit? Here are the 10 hottest smartphones for 2013.
iPhone 5 – Apple’s latest iteration of the iPhone (for now) is sure to have a solid presence through 2013. It’s lightweight, it’s powerful, and games and apps run beautifully within its attractive aluminum casing. The larger screen also presents a pleasing alternative for anyone who doesn’t want to carry a tablet.
iPhone 5 S – Unsurprisingly, rumors about the iPhone 5 S already abound. Whispers mention wireless charging and improved durability (that aluminum casing on the iPhone 5 is attractive, but dang, it scratches up like nobody’s business).
HTC Windows Phone 8X – Maybe 2013 will be the year you grab a Windows phone. The HTC Windows Phone 8X features a variety of styles in addition to an ultra wide-angle front-mounted camera lens, high definition sound, and tons of customization abilities.
Nokia Lumia 920 – Another smartphone that runs on Windows 8, the Nokia Lumia 920 is durable and handsome. It has external storage options, a 7 megapixel camera that performs well even in dim lighting, and the touch screen is still responsive even if you’re wearing gloves—a big selling point for people living in chilly climates.
Samsung Galaxy Note II – The Samsung combines the multitasking power of a tablet with the portability of a smartphone. Its pressure-sensitive “S Pen” stylus helps you get tasks done with finesse and precision that’s not as easy to pull off with your clunky fingers.
Samsung Galaxy S III – If you’re not interested in iOS, the Samsung Galaxy S III is an extremely popular Android-based alternative thanks to its multitude of features, processing power, and attractive design. It’s currently one of the most popular smartphones on the market, and its momentum should continue through 2013 despite buzz-killing lawsuits.
Google Nexus 4 – Google’s Nexus 4 smartphone is optimized for Google apps and games. Needless to say, if you depend on Google Maps, it’s a valuable little machine. You can purchase the phone unlocked and without a contract directly from Google.
Sony Xperia T – Sony’s Xperia T has been nicknamed/marketed as the “Bond Phone” thanks to Skyfall. It has a 13 megapixel rear camera and offers removable storage options, but it can’t incapacitate a man. We’re going to assume that Bond’s personal phone can.
LG Optimus 4X HD – Although it doesn’t look as sleek as the Samsung Galaxy S III, the LG Optimus 4X HD is nearly as powerful thanks to its quad-core processor. Many providers offer the phone at a bargain rate with a contract.
Motorola RAZR I – The Android-powered Motorola RAZR I isn’t as powerful as some of the phones on this list, but it’s still a solid and dependable piece of hardware that offers vital smartphone features—and throws in plenty of frivolous ones, too. Another good option if you’re looking to get a decent phone without spending a fortune.