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    September 29, 2012
    Nook Price Drops By $20

    In a few short days, the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite will be making its debut.  The company has sold a ton already in preorder, and that shows no signs of slowing down as orders placed now won’t go out until late October.  If you can’t wait that long, or don’t want to put your stock in with Amazon, there’s a simple solution:  the Nook.  Barnes and Noble’s Nook Glowlight e-reader (which has an integrated light like the Paperwhite version of the Kindle) is finding its price point sliding downward.

    Both Target and Walmart have dropped the Nook Glowlight’s price to $119, $20 below retail and the exact launch price as the bottom-end Kindle Paperwhite.  The Nook typically sells for $139, but I imagine that will change on a full-time basis with the Kindle entering the marketplace.  Not that it will make much difference, since both B&N and Kindle are fighting for the second-biggest piece of the tablet pie and Apple may make it all moot by rolling out a Nook/Fire-sized iPad Mini by this time next year.  I kind of doubt they will that quickly, but you never know.

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    September 28, 2012
    The iPhone 5 Costs 41 Cents A Year To Charge

    Smartphones seem like they’d need a lot of power, don’t they?  All those running gadgets and gizmos, the big bright screen, the fact that it is nearly constantly in use, and the constant complaints from owners about battery life would make you think that the device is a power hog.  As it turns out, it’s not.  The iPhone 5 only costs 41 cents a year to charge, according to Opower.  The Samsung Galaxy S III costs a more robust 53 cents a year to charge, because it has a larger battery.

    “The paramount point here though is not the difference between the two phones, but rather their striking similarity:  the energy consumption of a modern smartphone is minuscule,” wrote Opower’s Barry Fischer.

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    September 25, 2012
    A Life-Saving Bike Helmet App

    Bike helmets save lives.  That’s all there is to it.  While I personally think bike helmets on kids who are riding around an empty parking lot or along the sidewalk is a bit excessive, if you’re riding on the streets among the cars and trucks, you’ll need a helmet.  A serious helmet, in fact.  That helmet may save your life in more ways that one.  A crash-detecting bike helmet that alerts emergency services in the event of a wreck that disables the user from turning off an alarm.

    The app is from the company ICEdot, and it tells safety services a lot of information.  Not only does it tell them you’ve been in a crash, it also gives emergency services your location via GPS, any pertinent medical information such as allergies or diabetes, and can even evaluate the severity of the crash based on how hard your face bounced off the street!

    “The idea came from Biju Thomas, a prominent chef for a lot of top cyclists.  He was on a solo ride and crashed and thought if the crash had been any worse, nobody would have know where he was located.  We were then introduced and it became clear that the pairing of his idea with ICEdot existing technology were a perfect match,” said ICEdot CEO Chris Zenthoefer.  ”The crash sensor provides riders with a peace of mind.  I love to cycle and for me, knowing that if things went wrong, the technology would assert itself on my behalf when it is needed most, it’s relieving.  There has been a lot of interest shown in the ICEdot Crash Sensor so I think the product will be seen widely around the globe when it is released.  We’ve been contacted by interested parties from all corners of the world – it’s been surreal.”

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    September 20, 2012
    NYPD To Launch Cellphone Registry

    It’s perfect timing.  The iPhone 5 has launched, and that means it’s a perfect time to launch a new cellphone-related product.  In the case of the New York City Police Department, that new product is a cellphone registry service.  At 21 different stores throughout New York City, NYPD officers will be stationed in the store as part of Operation ID.  The NYPD is hoping that by taking down cellphone information they’ll reduce cellphone theft and losses.

    When you buy your iPhone (or hopefully bring your old iPhone in), the police officer in the store will take down your name, contact information, and the serial number of your phone.  If requested, your phone can also be engraved with a special serial number to make it even easier to track.  The NYPD hopes that this identification will help reunite phones with their owners if they’re lost, stolen, or otherwise disappearing.

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    September 19, 2012
    Germany Urges Users To Quit IE

    There are a lot of things the German government prohibits, from the normal to the unusual, but perhaps nothing is quite as unusual as a German government recommendation that was published on Monday.  Simply put, Germany thinks users need to migrate away from Internet Explorer.  Citing a security flaw that leaves the newest version of IE vulnerable to hacker takeovers, the German government is urging the public to stop using Internet Explorer.  The order was issued by Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (or BSI), which cited the quick spread of the code and the fact that there appears to be a concerted effort by hackers to take control of defense department computers.

    Has there ever been a government who advised an entire population not to use a certain operating system or web browser or, well… anything like that?  It’s pretty funny, honestly; knowing how many virus scares there are versus how many actual virus outbreaks there are, usually people panic without help from their elected officials.  Granted, this sounds like a serious virus, but any trojan horse style virus will be serious and worth paying attention to.

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    September 14, 2012
    The iPhone 5 Preorder Window Opened Today

    For those of you that live under a rock, Apple began taking preorders for the new iPhone 5, but if you didn’t get one already, you won’t be getting one any time soon.  The phones begin shipping next Friday, but Apple sold out of preorder slots already, so your best chance will be to head down to the Apple store, get in line right now, and wait until the iPhone 5 is officially released on September 21.  However, I can guarantee you the average person on the street won’t know the difference between the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5, and late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel proved that on his show yesterday.

    Check it out!

    YouTube Preview Image

    The amount of people who simply assumed that the phone in their hands was smaller and lighter than the other phone, also in their hands, was amazing to me.  I guess people think cases don’t weigh anything?  Or maybe they just took the person at their word.  Either way, it’s pretty funny to see the inductive bias that people are going into the iPhone 5 with.

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    September 13, 2012
    Your iPhone Accessories Are Now Useless

    One of the things that has ensured iPhone dominance is that the products you can use with one iPhone, by and large, can be used with multiple iPhones.  You could have an entire household sharing one car charger, if that’s what you want to do.  Be they using iPhones or iPhone 4 variants, or even most iPods, you could use the same connector for all devices for the most part.  However, that’s all changing.  The iPhone 5 is getting a different dock connector, meaning all your chargers will be useless for the newest iPhone and beyond.  This has caused a significant Apple backlash from insulted fans.

    However, while it’s kind of a bad move, it’s not surprising.  That’s Apple’s MO; they want complete control over your devices.  That’s why upgrading your Apple computer is practically impossible unless you have specialized tools.  That’s why you can’t change out your battery pack.  That’s why you have to use iTunes.  It’s what Apple does, and what they’ve always done.  By changing the iPhone 5′s dock, they just made a whole variety of products obsolete and pointless without… of course, an official Apple converter dongle.  This way, Apple can control who gets to make iPhone 5 products, and can charge that company accordingly.

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    September 11, 2012
    A Hands-On Review Of The New Kindle Fire

    As part of a wonderful, extremely belated birthday present, I’m getting money enough to purchase part or all of the tablet computer of my choice.  Pretty awesome, right?  I thought so too!  Since the rumors of the new Amazon Kindle Fire have been floating around since July, I decided to wait until the new generation of Kindle Fires came out.  Fortunately, that looks like a decision that was a wise one.  The first hands-on reviews of the Kindle Fire HD are in, and Wired’s Roberto Baldwin gives the Kindle Fire HD a glowing review.

    Faster, thinner, lighter, better screen, better design… what’s not to like?  Maybe I can pick up a standard Kindle Fire for much cheaper now, but I’m going to hold off.  I’m waiting for one of the 8.9-inch Kindle Fires to hit the market, with the 4G wireless data package for $50 a year.   If I’m going to get one, I may as well get the best possible tablet I can.  I’ve still got my netbook to hold me over, and odds are I’ll need to keep using said netbook, but I love the idea of having a tablet on me at all times, and if it will work without wireless internet, so much the better.

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    September 7, 2012
    Infographic: Android Malware

    When it comes to the antivirus industry, the new growth area is in your pants pocket or purse.  With mobile browsing  more popular than ever, and computer use sinking, the future for pretty much all antivirus companies is mobile browsing, because the future of virus makers is mobile browsing.  Lookout Mobile has released the latest heat map of Android virus risks, and it looks like Eastern Europe is a very dangerous place to get your Android apps.  Chief among these is a fake installer that forces consumers to text high-cost premium phone numbers, racking up massive bills and stealing hundreds of dollars from unsuspecting mobile users.

    Russia leads the world in Android mobile device malware, with a staggering 42 percent chance of catching malware.  Ukraine is second at 28 percent.  China is a distant third, with 7.6 percent risk.  By comparison, in the United States, you have about a 1 percent chance of catching an infection on your Android device.  This is a combination of both app-based threats and web-based threats.  The main threat mentioned above, the SMS trojan, isn’t a risk in the United States due to restrictions on premium phone numbers here.

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    September 6, 2012
    Amazon Announces New Kindle Fire HD, Pricing Schedule

    If you’re wanting to jump on the e-reader bandwagon, Amazon just removed the last barrier to entry for anyone with any sort of ability to buy anything at all.  Amazon announced an entirely new series of Kindles, and new price points for the old favorites.  Now, the cheapest Kindle for sale on Amazon retails at $69!  That’s the low-end original Kindle; all the other Kindle models have gotten upgrades or have otherwise been improved.

    Here’s the new Kindle family:  the original Kindle is now $69; the updated version, dubbed the Kindle Paperwhite, is $119.  An updated Kindle Fire will retail for $159.  Two different 16GB Kindle Fire HD models are available, one with a 7-inch screen for $199 and one with an 8.9-inch screen for $299.  As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also a 32GB version of the Kindle Fire HD with 4G LTE service for $499 (with a 250 MB per month data plan for $50 a year).  There are also 3G versions of the Fire and regular Kindle available for an upcharge.

    The Kindle Fire HD’s display promises 1,920 x 1,200 resolution, Wi-Fi connectivity, a camera, less glare than the original Kindle Fire, and dual Dolby digital speakers, among other internal upgrades.  As for service upgrades, Amazon has announced Kindle Series, which allows people to basically subscribe to an author’s books; you pay one price and get the entire series of books.  Amazon has also announced a serial option for authors wishing to publish a book in segments.

     

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