Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Free eBook on wildflower photography

We found this link to a free eBook on wildflower photography and thought we should share it with all of our readers who are photographers. The link is:

The book covers these 13 subjects:

  • How to get perfect light
  • How to control the light
  • How to get sharper images
  • How to get a perfect exposure
  • How to get a perfect background
  • How to focus closer
  • How to make identification easier
  • How to battle the wind
  • How to create intimate images
  • How to leave no trace
  • How to sharpen your photos in Photoshop
  • How to darken the background in Photoshop
  • How to fix underexposed areas in Photoshop

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kingsoft Android Office Suite

We finally found a full featured office suite for our Android devices! As most of our readers know we’ve been looking for a good office suite, especially a good word processor, for ages. We had settled on GoogleDocs several months ago and it has worked very well most of the time.

In January I spent a lot of time on airplanes and only had one flight that had in-flight WiFi. That forced me to use an app that would allow me to write when I wasn’t connected to the internet. The solution I found, ColorNote, worked but it was more of a note pad than a word processor.

I read a press release this week announcing the latest version of the Kingsoft Office Suites, their alternatives to MSFT Office. The last paragraph caught my eye because itr simply said they also have an Android 2.1+ version for Phablets.

I went to their web site,, and read about the app. I then used the QR Code on the page to download the Office for Android Freeware 4.3.2 app to an Android Phablet. I did have to change permissions to allow third party apps to be installed for it to run but that was the only thing out of the ordinary.

I’ve only used Kingsoft Office for Android a few times so far but it’s everything I’d hoped for. I’ll let you know how it holds up.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Free book from

We received this offer from O'Reilly books. is offering free copies of the book My Kindle Fire (Kindle edition) at:

It's a limited time offer but we don't know what the cut off date is.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Office 15 touch mode

We’ve heard from someone who is on the MSFT Office 15 development that (are you ready for a shock?) the next version of Office will have touch optimized apps!!!! Wow!! What a shock! All you’ll have to do is click on the Touch button and you’ll have optimized apps at your finger tips (pun intended).

If I sound a bit sarcastic it’s because I am being sarcastic. A real shock would have been if MSFT wasn’t trying to catch up with the rest of the world. Everyone is making the move to Phablets, not just for entertainment or web browsing, but for real business work.

Good luck MSFT, you’re finally catching on.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lens hoods

We are currently working on a review of a superb digital camera, the Olympus PEN E-P3 with the Olympus 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens combination.  

When we opened the box we noticed that there is no lens hood Included. This is a problem with really compact lenses for several reasons so we looked for solutions. All of the 37mm diameter lens hoods we have on hand caused vignetting at 14mm. So we went to and ordered an EzFoto 37mm Silver Wide Metal Lens Hood. It’s designed for 14mm wide angle lenses and only cost $9.29 with free shipping!

It came a couple of days later by UPS and it was perfect. The outside metal color perfectly matched the lens color and look while the inside was a light absorbing black. It didn’t have a lens cap but we had a 58mm Olympus brand lens cap on hand that fit perfectly.

It’s a mystery to me why companies don’t provide a lens shade with an $800 plus camera/lens combo. If a company like EzFoto can sell one for under $10 and turn a profit then why can’t Olympus just throw one in the box?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Google Glasses

OK, this is the most dangerous product we’ve ever heard of. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t recognize the dangers of distracted driving? Apparently some people at Google think that wearing Andoid based glasses that will allow you to use apps on your Smartphone is really great.

You’ll be able to use your navigation software and control things with head twists and turns. Boy, now you can check your texts and docs and do all of this cool stuff with the image just inches from your eyes! No distractions there!!

Here’s my take on this. As long as the glasses become totally non-functional when a driver is wearing them then I’m OK with them. BUT, if a driver can use them while behind the wheel of a car the should be banned and anyone caught using them should be shot and left on the side of the road as an example for others. By the way, I also feel that anyone caught using a phone to talk or text while driving should also be shot and left on the side of the road!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

HOT rumor

This week we heard what can only be described as a very HOT rumor. The word is that MSFT has a version of Office for the iPad just about ready for final approval from the iFruit company.

This makes perfect sense since MSFT seems to have seen the light and knows it has to switch it’s distribution of software from mega-products to more useful individual apps. From what we’ve heard that’s what Win8 will be like and MSFT needs to make sure they’re on the right track. What better way than on iFruit Phablets!!

Of course, neither company is confirming the rumor just yet, and MSFT is outright denying it, but we expect to see Office on iFruit Phablets some day soon. Let’s see if we’re right.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Samsung brand memory cards

Samsung just announced a new line of Samsung branded memory cards. To me it looks like another step on the path towards tech domination by Samsung. Companies like the iFruit company should be very afraid because Samsung is very, very god at everything they do.

Here’s the announcement from Samsung:

Samsung Electronics America, Inc., a market leader and award-winning innovator in consumer electronics, announced today that it is now shipping a new line of advanced SD and microSD cards that are ideal for digital imaging and mobile devices. The seven new models of SD and microSD cards are now available as part of either the High Speed Series or the Plus Extreme Speed Series, both of which deliver up to 24MB/sec read speeds on cards with a capacity of 4GB or higher.

Styled with a brushed metal design, Samsung’s beautiful new line of SD and microSD cards are built with “Best-in-Class” performance. Able to meet the growing demand for high speed and high capacity memory in modern devices, the new cards are ideal for today’s digital cameras, camcorders, smartphones and tablets. With (up to) 24MB/sec OR (max) read speeds, users can transfer 1GB of images in as little as 42 seconds. In order to ensure their reliability, Samsung has designed both lines of memory products to be waterproof, shockproof, and magnet proof, allowing them to withstand some of the harshest conditions. All models are guaranteed to survive up to 24 hours in water, withstand the force of a 1.6 ton vehicle (3,200 lbs), and resist up to 10,000 gauss (slightly less than the power of a medical imaging magnet). 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Angry Birds Space

Rovio, the Finland based mobile game maker, has just announced the latest version of their hyper-popular game app Angry Birds. As a follow up to the original version and it’s two sequels, Rio and Seasons, the new version will be Angry Birds Space.

Space is set for lift-off on March 22 and I guarantee you it will be the most downloaded app for next the month or so after that. There are millions of people around the world who have been waiting for this day and they’ll all be trying to download it at once.

I can guarantee you that my son and his family will be among the first downloaders. They are all Angry Birds fans and will happily play the Space version for hours once they get it.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy Presidents Day

We would like to wish everyone a Happy Presidents Day! If you live in the States then you know why today is a holiday. For our readers who have no idea what this day is, here's a quick explanation:

For many years the birthdays of two former US presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, were celebrated as federal holidays. Each year we would alternate which date workers would have off. As the result of a law passed a couple of decades ago, the Monday between their two birthdays would be the new holiday giving most government workers a three day weekend.

Personally, my favorite President is Millard Fillmore. Now there was a great President!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

March publication

The March edition of our March publication goes out today and it's a great one. We have a ton of additional CES 2012 coverage that will interest everyone. In this issue we have coverage of the evening events hosted by Pepcom and Showstoppers that are very informative.

If you're not already a subscriber just email us and we'll add you to our subscriber list. Our monthly ePub is one of the best sources of information available!

Tablet computer sales in Q4-2011

The fourth quarter numbers are now in for sales of Tablet computers and there are some interesting changes. The iFruit company continues to lead in sales but their percentage of sales is dropping rapidly. Not surprisingly there is a new number two, the largest online etailer in the world, Amazon, surged past Samsung in the quarter.

Here are the numbers:

iFruit tablets: 15.4 million units for 57% of the market
Amazon Kindles: 3.89 million units for 14% of the market
Samsung Tablets: 2.14 million units for 8% of the market

Significantly, the iFruit companies share of the market for the year slipped from 87% down to 62%. Now that there is real competition you can expect the iFruit products to end up with sales comparable to their computer sales.

Interestingly, Amazon’s stock went down on the big sales news. Could it be the fact that Amazon loses about $20 on every Kindle Fire they sell? Who knows.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Motorola and Android

We just learned that Motorola will not be upgrading any of their Smartphones in the US to Android 4.0, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich, until Q3 of 2012 at the earliest. The only device that will be using ICS will be the WiFi only version of the Motorola XOOM. This seems really odd to us. Other countries, including China, Japan and Canada will be getting the upgrade but not the good old USA.

ICS was designed to be the OS that will work on Smartphones and Tablets equally well and it seems to us that Motorola would want to standardize on it ASAP. The iFruit company always uses the same version of their OS on their phones and Tablets but Android still has various versions being sold on new products. Why are we being asked to buy a brand new product that may have a version of Android as old as 2.2? 

Hopefully all of this will change at some point and we’ll see every new Phablet have the latest version of Android on it.

Friday, February 17, 2012


I just heard a new tech-term for the first time... Phablets. 

What the heck is a Phablet you ask? It’s a cross between a cell PHone and a tABLET computer. Since all Smartphones are really computers that connect to the cell phone system and many Tablets also have built in cell connectivity, then in reality there are many, many Phablets already in use. If you don’t believe me just check the settings section of your Motorola XOOM or other connected Tablet and you’ll find your phone number.

I’m not sure who created the term but from now on I’m a Phablet fan.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Nimble version 2.0

If you’re anything like me you are a member of many social networks. And, like me, you have trouble keeping up with all of them! That’s where Nimble version 2.0 comes in. The basic concept is to merge all of your divergent social network accounts into one easily accessible one. Here are excerpt from the announcement we received:

Nimble, the award-winning Social Business Platform, today announced that it has launched Nimble 2.0, the most social CRM platform on the market today. Nimble was designed entirely with social engagement in mind and is the first social business platform that empowers companies to get closer to their customers through listening and engagement, helping them turn their social communities into customers for life.
Over the past year, Nimble has listened to the feedback of its community - many of whom are on the forefront of Social Business adoption - and incorporated it into Nimble 2.0 to make it easier, smarter and more flexible. New enhanced features such as social discovery, improved usability and marketing integration have all been added to the product.
“Traditional CRM systems fail at relationship management and that’s why people don’t use them for engagement,” said Jon Ferrara, Nimble CEO and previous founder of GoldMine, a pioneering CRM product. “The era of customer engagement is now, and it starts with listening. You can’t just snap social onto legacy CRM platforms and expect it to be effective. Nimble was built from the ground up for active social listening and engagement. We’re putting the ‘R’ (relationship) back into CRM, and with Nimble 2.0, we are disrupting the old CRM ways of doing business.”
Nimble has recently surpassed 30,000 registered users at more than 2,800 companies -- a significant achievement for a start-up SaaS business application. The average Nimble user spends almost 3 hours a day managing business contacts. Nimble has seen phenomenal global growth in its VAR partner channel, having signed up more than 250 resellers worldwide, 50 of which are in Europe.
What’s New in Nimble 2.0?
Nimble 2.0 takes Social Business to the next level, adding social notifications and discovery and empowering socially aware companies to stay top-of-mind with customers. It also contains key new user enhancements and marketing features to boost outreach. Screenshots can be found here.
Social Discovery
Nimble extends its Social Business platform with key social engagement features, including support for Facebook business pages and Google+ support. These features are designed to enable companies to listen and engage their customers while tracking and capturing real-time data when fans interact on social streams. Nimble’s new unified social notifications consolidates all the likes, comments, friend invites and other social interactions from LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Now users don’t have to go to five separate tabs to engage. These powerful new features combined with alerts on birthdays, promotions and job changes in a daily email notification keep Nimble users more connected than ever to their contacts.
At the heart of Nimble is the contact record - the embodiment of the relationship with the customer. Nimble contacts have an all new improved user interface which effortlessly pulls together all related messages, activities, and deals, and includes the contact’s live social stream. Nimble has also added custom fields and tabs to support the unique ways our customers relate to their contacts. In addition, Nimble has boosted usability throughout the application with improved navigation and better data importing tools.
Marketing Integration
Nimble now makes it easier to capture information and interact with customers through integration with HubSpot, a leading Social Marketing platform. The combination of Nimble and HubSpot allows closed-loop marketing. Now sales teams can contact the right lead at the right time with little or no effort and see significantly improved marketing ROI.
Pricing & Availability
Nimble is free for standalone personal users. Business and multi-users can sign up for Nimble at $15 per user per month. Nimble is available online at or via our network of solution partners worldwide.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Chrome on Android

This week Google announced the Chrome browser will soon be available for Android 4.0. My only question is: what took you so long? Both Android OS and Chrome as a browser are rapidly becoming the major players in the market. The marriage of the two products will give Google a perfect tool set to continue to build their market share and unseat the iFruit company as the leader in portable products.

I have always felt that Android on Smartphones and Tablets was better than their competitors over-hyped iOS. Of course the chorus from the fan boys and girls will pooh-pooh the notion that iFruit products are second best, despite the obvious facts.

I’m typing this post on a Samsung Chromebook using a non-MSFT and non-iFruit OS and browser and saving my work in the Cloud. Google is doing an outstanding job of really innovating with their various products and I for one look forward to the future. A Google future.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

IObit one day free software offer

IObit today announced a free giveaway campaign for its award-winning Advanced SystemCare PRO, one of the world's leading software utilities. This Valentine's Day, participants can send friends and family a free one-year license of Advanced SystemCare PRO as a gift, regularly valued at $19.95 USD. The Campaign will begin Feb. 14, 2012 at 12 am (PST), and last 24 hours.

Advanced SystemCare was ranked one of the top two utilities on CNET annual list of the Top Downloads of 2011 for Windows, and also took the top position in the Utilities & OS category. This powerful tool protects PCs from malicious software and hidden Internet threats, fixes stubborn errors, removes clutter, optimizes Internet and downloads speeds, ensures personal security and maintains maximum computer performance automatically.

For more information on Advanced SystemCare PRO and this special offer, please visit:

About Advanced SystemCare
Advanced SystemCare is a one-stop solution for PC performance headaches. By cleaning, repairing and optimizing, Advanced SystemCare acts like your very own PC technician. More than 130 million users have downloaded Advanced SystemCare, which has been recognized by leading industry outlets including CNET Download, PC Magazine, Tucows and ZDNet.

Monday, February 13, 2012

One day free software offer

Tomorrow morning we'll be posting a one day only free software offer. Make sure you check back with us then for the details and links.

Clean Out Your Computer Day

The second Monday in February has become Clean Out Your Computer Day. Our friends at are in the forefront of this effort and we want to post some information and links to support the effort.

Here’s some information from We highly recommend checking out the iolo site and please take a look at all of the Facts and Figures. There are some real eye openers on the page!!

Originally sponsored by Institute for Business Technology and in existence since at least 2000, Clean Out Your Computer Day falls on the second Monday in February (that’s Feb 13 – in 2012).

As increasing amounts of time are wasted in work places and at home because of slow computers and psychological research shows the negative impact of clutter – digital or otherwise – on our lives, this day was created as an opportunity for us to remember to clean up and delete old and unused files.  So, get into the spirit of the day, and clean out your computer!

Just for You: 50% Off System Mechanic
Jump-start your spring cleaning on Clean Out Your Computer Day this year.

Clean out your PC to feel better and save money and time.
Click here to get 50% off System Mechanic.
Offer valid now through Feb 25 11:59 PM PST - 2012.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Kodak bankruptcy

The next step in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization that Kodak is going through has been announced. On February 9th Kodak announced they were getting out of the camera business. They actually are phasing out all of their dedicated capture devices business – comprising digital cameras, pocket video cameras and digital picture frames in the first half of 2012.

Kodak plans to expand its current brand licensing program, and seek licensees in these categories like so many other big names in the mid-20th Century did. You can buy Bell & Howell, Polaroid and Vivitar brand products today because all of those companies all sold name rights to other companies. That’s what Kodak is banking on being able to accomplish.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Free software offer

We received this limited time free software offer and thought our followers might be interested. Here’s the offer:

Today we launched the time-limited giveaway of PDF To Excel Converter. The original price of PDF To Excel Converter is $39.95 USD each license, but all users are able to get the licenses of PDF To Excel Converter before 2012 March 1st for free.

Office workers often have to move data from a PDF document to Excel to make it editable. Copying and pasting figures from a large document is a time-consuming and complex process that many users wish they could avoid.

PDF To Excel Converter is an easy to use and application that lets users convert PDF documents to Excel (XLS) in batch mode, also it can automatically decrypt the conversion protected PDF files.

This giveaway is 100% full functional, clean and free.

The giveaway is available at:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Olympus mirrorless "dSLR"

Olympus just announced a new digital camera that combines traditional SLR styling with the modern mirrorless micro4/3 mount and lenses. They’ve revived the OM line with the new OM-D E-M5 camera. In our opinion it is sheer genius. There are tens of thousands of SLR users out there who have drawers full of excellent older lenses that they don’t use any longer because they’ve switched to digital cameras.

We’ve used Olympus PEN digital cameras with third party adapters to use Minolta and Leica lenses for some time now and have found them to be a magnificent combination. I’ll be shooting a rugby match this Saturday with an E-P3 and a 1960’s Minolta Rokkor 200mm f.5 lens. How perfect!

Here’s what we’ve read so far on the internet::

With the E-M5, Olympus says it “builds upon the 40-year legacy of the OM SLR film camera series” with the Micro Four Thirds mirrorless compact interchangeable lens camera, for “blazing fast speed and total creative control in a classic, rugged body ready for sand, sun, sleet or snow.”

The new model is compact and ready-for-action, the company says, with a lightweight magnesium alloy body “evoking the classic design of the original OM Series” to “meet the requirements of discerning photographers who demand more performance and portability from their interchangeable-lens cameras.

The E-M5’s 16-megapixel sensor allows for a maximum ISO of 25,600, and the dynamic range has been expanded for more faithful color reproduction.

The camera’s “unprecedented” 5-axis image stabilization compensates for multi-directional camera shake during both still photography and HD moviemaking — the world’s first such system, Olympus asserts. It is capable of reducing the effects of camera motion and image blur from five directions on stills and video, even including motion blur caused by the photographer walking or running: horizontal shift, vertical shift, rotary motion, as well as the yaw and pitch. All lenses mounted on the body can take advantage of the technology.

The E-M5 also has the fastest autofocusing system, Olympus says, reading image data off the sensor at 240 frames per second. The new 3D AF tracking improves performance following moving subjects at up to 9 frames per second.

The camera has a tilting 3-inch OLED touchscreen, and measures 4.8 by 3.5 by 1.7 inches. The E-M5 will ship in April for $1,000 body only, and $1,300 with a 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 lens.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

New Plustek D412 scanner

Plustek Technology Inc. (, a manufacturer of consumer, prosumer and professional imaging devices, announced today the launch of its new MobileOffice D412 document and card scanner that scans 13 pages-per-minute and has a 1,000 page-per-day duty-cycle.  
The MobileOffice D412 is a color, duplex, sheet-fed document and card scanner capable of scanning an 8.5 inch by 11 inch page in 4.6 seconds.  The compact design and flexible dual power configuration enables the scanner to be used in the office or with a laptop on the road.
“Because of its high scan speed, small footprint and reliable design, the MobileOffice D412 is perfect for commercial applications that require the scanning of rigid cards such as: patient registration, lockboxes, remote deposits, bank tellers, loan processing, pharmacies, home healthcare, nurses carts, and ID verifications,” said Mark Druziak, Plustek’s director of marketing and business development.
Key Features Include:
  • Front or rear document eject options
  • USB or AC powered
  • 13 pages per minute scan speed
  • Scans to searchable PDF
  • Scans of rigid embossed cards such as licenses, insurance cards, membership cards
  • Duplex scanning in color, grayscale or black and white
  • Easily transportable
  • Two single-touch customizable buttons automates frequent scanning jobs
  • Advanced image enhancement to automatically straighten and rotate pages, adjust brightness, and crop images to minimize file size and increase OCR accuracy
  • Software productivity suite enables PDF, Microsoft Office, JPG TIF creation and management.
  • Abbyy Finereader Sprint included
  • Energy Star compliant
  • 1,000 page per day duty cycle

All Plustek MobileOffice scanners include a suite of document management applications, TWAIN drivers, single-touch button scanning, and scan to PDF capabilities.  In addition, APIs are available to authorized system integrators.
Sales/Purchase Information:
All Plustek products can be purchased from authorized resellers, DMRs, VARs, and distributors NewWave Technologies, Ingram Micro and D&H.  Additional product information and photos can be found by visiting,

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The new Pentax WG-2

Pentax has just announced their latest digital camera designed for people who put them selves, and their equipment, in serious danger! We’ve tested several of their WG cameras in the past and they have always been absolutely incredible. Here’s the press release:

PENTAX RICOH IMAGING AMERICAS CORPORATION just  pushed the PENTAX WG adventure camera series to the edge for the 13th time with the introduction of the PENTAX Optio WG-2 and PENTAX Optio WG-2 GPS digital compact cameras.   These rugged, waterproof, dustproof and shock-resistant models feature more durability than ever before as well as improved image quality in high-sensitivity shooting and Full1080pHD movie recording capability.

 The Optio WG camera family is ready for adventure in any outdoor setting. Foremost in the latest models’ feature set is a new back-illuminated 16 megapixel CMOS image sensor and powerful imaging engine that perform superbly in high-sensitivity settings such as night shooting or in poorly illuminated indoor settings.  The WG-2 models deliver clear, sharp images with less noise than previous models.

Other major improvements in the latest models include:

•     High-resolution Full HD 1080pmovie recording (1920 x 1080 pixels) at 30 FPS with high quality h.264 compression.
•     Waterproof to depths of 40 feet.
•     Digital Microscope mode with one additional macro LED (total of six lights) for excellent macro lighting of subjects as close as 1 cm.

•     A newly designed GPS module that delivers a shorter time lag before GPS start-up and longer battery life during GPS activation.
•     A new optional SportMount Chest Harness that straps-on the WG-2 for hands-free HD movie capture of every exciting moment of adventure on land, sea or in the air.

Other outstanding WG-2 features include:

•     Shockproof design protects camera drop up to 5 feet.
•     Crushproof construction withstands weights up to 220 LBF (pound-force).
•     Coldproof to sub-freezing temps of minus 10 degrees C (14 degrees F).
•     Dustproof design protects the camera from dry, dusty environments.
•     Wide angle 5X internal optical zoom lens (28-140mm equivalent).
•     Large 3 inch LCD features HVGA resolution (460,000 dots) and anti-reflective coating on its protective cover.
•     Hardened cover with SP coating protects internal lens elements.
•     An HDMI port (Micro, Type-D) plays back beautiful, high definition images and video on HDTVs.
•     Pixel Track, Digital, and Movie Shake Reduction ensure sharp, blur-free images and video.
•     Fast Face Detection technology including Smile Capture and Blink Detection to capture perfect portraits.
•     A Handheld Night Snap mode produces a single blur-free, composite image from four images of the same scene.
•     An autofocus assist lamp helps to quickly and accurately focus.
•     Extended dynamic range helps bring out extra highlight and shadow detail.
•     PENTAX infrared remote control compatibility for remote shooting.
•     GPS and non-GPS versions are available in several new stylish color options.

Priced at $349.95 USD, Optio WG-2 will be available in a choice of Black or Vermillion Red, while the Optio WG-2 GPS will be priced at $399.95 USD in a choice of Shiny Orange or Gloss White. The new SportMount Chest Harness will be priced at $49.95 USD and should be available late spring or early summer 2012.  OptioWG-2 cameras can be pre-ordered on to ship by March 2012.