Thursday, September 18, 2014

iOS 8.0 Update

After first displayed publicly at its annual developer conference in June, Apple has finally released iOS 8 for iPhones and iPads.

Just days before the Cupertino, Calif.-based technology giant opens its retail stores to sell the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, existing smartphone and tablet users can upgrade to the latest mobile operating system.

Though, it may be a few more hours until you get the update, or receive the notification that you're ready to jump to the latest version. That's because hundreds of millions of Apple's smartphone and tablet users are upgrading at the same time

The latest software version is is compatible with iPhone 4s handsets and later, iPad 2 tablets and later, iPad mini and iPad mini with Retina display, and iPod touch (5th generation) devices.
And, don't forget to backup your phone first.

There are three methods of updating: on the device, and through iTunes, or for enterprise deployments.

For the vast majority, updating from the device is easiest and quickest. The update will be ready to download and install when the notification arrives on the Settings icon on your device's home screen.

iOS 7 users and earlier can upgrade over-the-air on compatible devices by going to Settings > General > Software Update. However, we saw with the previous update last year that had many users frustrated that the update was slow to download, or would not finish downloading. It may take repeated attempts.

Because the size of some update files are huge, downloading over a Wi-Fi connection is recommended.

Alternatively, Windows and Mac users can connect their compatible iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch devices to the latest version of iTunes (which must be installed to use iOS 8), and upgrade by selecting the Check for Upgrade button in their device's summary window.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Panasonic DMC-CM1

Compact, point-and-shoot cameras are dying, simply because people would rather use smartphones and tablets to snap their dinner and instantly share them to Instagram. Unfortunately, that's a segment of the market that Panasonic abandoned (at least in Europe) back in 2013. That left the company without a convincing rival to the Lumia 1020 and Samsung's various phone / camera hybrids. That's why the company has now launched the DMC-CM1, a "connected camera" (i.e. a smartphone with a proper lens) that's capable of taking 20-megapixel stills and record 4K video thanks to a one-inch MOS sensor.

For its part, Panasonic knows that the device won't beat equivalent smartphones on a spec-for-spec basis. Instead, it wants people to concentrate upon the photographic equipment that's been crammed into this slender device. Perched atop the aforementioned one-inch sensor is an f/2.8 Leica DC Elmarit lens. The lens is fixed, but works equivalent to a 28mm zoom lens, packing an aperture that'll run all the way up to f/11. A manual control dial runs around the lens, which you can assign to a function of your choice, lending this an old-school feel. In fact, the CM1 looks like the Lumia 1020 by way of Dieter Rams, all austere chrome with cracked-leather style back, and has a weird retro-futuristic look that's tremendously attractive.

On the surface of it, it's no slouch in the phone department either, packing a 4.7-inch full HD touchscreen that'll offer full manual control of your images. Sandwiched between the frame is a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 with 2GB RAM and Android 4.4. The 16GB of internal storage can also, thankfully, be improved with microSD cards up to 128GB in capacity. Battery-wise, there's 2,600mAh unit lurking inside the hardware, although we'd be concerned that it won't hold enough juice to get you through a full day of snappin' and callin'. If there is one downside, it's that the CM1 is only earmarked for release in France and Germany of Christmas of this year. Still, we imagine that plenty of camera enthusiasts will be racing to get back in contact with some long-lost Gallic grandmother in the hope of scoring one of these as a present.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

iFruit company Lemmings

Yep, lots of people tried to order new iPhones as pre-sales began just after midnight on Friday.

There were the usual reports of challenges ranging from sites not loading to error messages, with clear indications that plenty of phones were being ordered.

Demand for the new iPhones is higher than that seen in either of the past two years, AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel told Re/code.

In particular, Apple and all the major carriers appear to have sold through their preorder allotments of the larger iPhone 6 Plus with all quoting longer ship times for that model.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Amazon Slashes the Price of the Fire Phone cut the price of its Fire smartphone to 99 cents with a two-year contract through AT&T Inc., seeking to boost adoption of the device six weeks after it went on sale.

The 32-gigabyte phone previously cost $199 through AT&T, the exclusive wireless carrier for the device and the second-largest mobile carrier in the U.S. The Fire phone comes with 12 months of free membership to Amazon’s Prime fast-delivery and media-streaming service, the Seattle-based company said today in a statement.

Amazon is slashing the price of the Fire handset a day before Apple Inc. holds an event where the iPhone maker is set to announce bigger-screen phones, people with knowledge of the matter have said. Competition in the smartphone industry is intensifying, leading to reduction in prices for some phones that aren’t selling as well. In May 2013, AT&T said it was considering whether to stop selling an HTC Corp. phone that integrates Facebook Inc. social-networking features after cutting the price to 99 cents.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Wearable Devices

By George Harding

This is a hot product category these days. There were quite a few products at CES last January, the field is expanding rapidly.

I saw advertised and bought a Bowflex Heart Rate Monitor for $13. It’s really a watch with lots of functions, time of day, day, month, year, timer, countdown timer, calendar, alarm and backlight, but with an additional function of pulse monitor. It’s pretty simple. You press one of the four buttons and hold until the monitor function shows up. Then place the back of the watch against any place your pulse can be sensed. The display shows a heart symbol which pulses in time with your pulse and after a few seconds, a number representing your heart rate shows up.

Popular Mechanics magazine had a brief article about a new product called Narrative Chip. It’s a white one inch square device that attaches to your shirt, belt or whatever and records one picture every 30 seconds. It’s about 1 ½ inches square and clips to your shirt, belt, headband or whatever. It has a capacity of 6,000 pictures and a battery life of two days. You download the pictures to save and display them. Price $229. See

Gear Fit from Samsung is a fitness band that not only tells you the time, but also monitors your heart rate, counts your steps,  plays your music, answers calls and much more. It connects with your smartphone where it gives you an extensive readout of results. Brief results are shown on the device itself. Price $200. See

Google and Apple are both working on Health apps that will collect information that can be used in applications to display results on wearable devices. Google’s developer kit is called Android Wear. Apple’s is HealthKit. Both companies are expected to develop smart watches soon.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


By George Harding

Here’s what I saw at this show.

QBIC is a very small camera with a very wide angle of view. It can be used in many different ways, but the most fascinating uses deal with sports and other motion activities. You can attach it to your body, so that you have a video record of your ski run, your kayak adventure, your race car trek or whatever. It has an adjustable angle of view, from 135 to 185 degrees. You can connect it to your smartphone by using the QBIC app or you can use WiFi to control the QBIC remotely. There are other features, as well. Price is about $260.  See

Corning products. Their Gorilla Glass 3 was introduced. It has the “almost indestructible” feature, but is also anti-microbial, making publicly-touched surfaces more sanitary.  It can be used as a dry erase markerboard in the customary manner, with much better resistance to smudging and scratching than traditional products. Or, it can be a multi-touch panel, each section of which can be manipulated separately. Sizes range up to 84 inches. See

Kramer Collage and Connect. These products change the dynamics of a meeting room dramatically. Collage allows any device that participants bring to a meeting to be displayed, up to 12 such devices. Connect does the same thing, but with a limit of 4 devices. The devices can be PC or Mac laptops, tablets, iOS or Android smartphones. No hookups are required – all is connected by WiFi. You download software to your laptop of tablet or an app for your smartphone. Nothing else is required. Your screen shows on the main display. Your device can copy the main display, if needed. File sharing is enabled among participants.

Whoosh! This is a screen cleaner, whether phone, tablet or PC/Mac. It cleans them all. It removes dirt, skin oils, smidges and fingerprints. It is eco-friendly and non-toxic. And, it won’t damage your screen. And it’s economically priced with  various sizes available. See

Friday, September 12, 2014

The iPhone 6 is Old News

This image, which compares the specifications of the new iPhone 6 and a Nexus 4, an older Android device, is all over the internet today. It was put together by the Ars Technica reviews editor Ron Amadeo. The infographic, which got retweeted nearly 16,000 times and favorited by more than 7,000 users on Twitter, highlights that most of the new iPhone's specifications are matched by the Nexus 4 — when it was released way back in 2012.

On basic specs, the Nexus appears to do either just as well as the iPhone or even sometimes outdo it — t he graphic suggests that the iPhone 6 is simply playing catch-up to the Nexus 4's features. The phones have the same screen size, and both have widgets and NFC payments — but the Nexus has a slightly higher screen resolution (760p compared with the iPhone 6's 750p).

However, the iPhone 6 has the advantage in some specs that are not mentioned on the graphic. For example, the iPhone has Touch ID, a fingerprint-recognition feature that allows iOS users to unlock their phone with only a touch. Touch ID also lets users pay for products they want to buy without having to use their credit cards.

To round off the ridicule, Amadeo sarcastically lists the "new" features to expect in 2016 from Apple. On the list, he includes wireless charging, water resistance, and split-screen apps — all of which are already available on Android phones.