Saturday, November 18, 2017

AVG Antivirus

By Bayle Emlein

Avast and AVG are the two leading free security software programs. Just about a year ago, Avast bought AVG. However this is a modern marriage and each program maintains its identity and functions as an independent entity in the online world where they met. Which should you choose? Should you look at anti-malware solutions? Definitely. The one thing you should not do is nothing. Make choices based on your personal situation. Avast has over 200 million users world-wide. The free version offers a solid, unobtrusive solution for the home user. Mac and Android versions are available.

The problem with the connected home, or even connected devices, is that they are vulnerable to hacking. The more devices behind a router, the weaker the security for any one of them. As a wider range of the population starts enjoying the connected life, the importance of ongoing safe computing fades into the background. Who thinks about being sure their fridge isn’t opening a leak to their banking information?

The latest version of the AVG Antivirus mobile app comes with a reimagined user experience featuring a modernized design. New features include:

>Anti-Theft Features: Users can control the app online, activate a siren if the phone has been stolen, remotely adjust settings and set custom screen messages.
>Call Blocker: Gives users the options to block unknown callers or send them directly to voicemail. In the new version, this feature has been optimized for users to not only block numbers stored in the address book but also all unknown, and hidden numbers.
>App Permissions: Allows the user to understand which apps installed on their phone have which permissions and what information they can access.
>Wi-Fi Speed Test: Checks the download and upload speed of the Wi-Fi network users are connected to.
>Safe Clean: Cleans residual data and caches to improve smartphone speed and performance.

New features to Avast Mobile Security & Antivirus, include:
>Photo Vault: Encrypts photos from a user’s gallery and imports them into a PIN code-protected vault, accessible only to the user.
>App-locking: Adds fingerprint and pattern locking/unlocking support to the existing feature, which allows users to create a PIN to secure their smartphone apps.
>Power Save: Reduces battery consumption by turning off unused apps and activities, including adjusting settings for battery-draining activities such as Bluetooth and screen settings.

Additionally, for the security of home -based systems, they have partnered with Netis Systems, a leading router manufacturer, to secure its Stonet router with Chime, our router security platform based on AVG technology. Chime offers an extra layer of security by protecting the network from malware, viruses and other malicious behaviour that could compromise the it. Chime also provides parental controls such as app blocking and content filtering as well as on-the-go security alerts via a user-friendly mobile app. Once personal information is in the public domain it is there forever, leaving you vulnerable to embarrassment and much worse. Prevention is the best defense.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Helio P System Chips

By Bayle Emlein

You’ll find MediaTek chips in a variety of midrange consumer devices. They tend to be mobile, but they’re an asset any place where high performance, power efficiency, and compact size matter.



The newly announced e Helio P23 and Helio P30 system-on-a-chip (SoC) deliver features like dual-cameras, 4G LTE connectivity, premium photography experiences, with outstanding connectivity on dual SIM cards. TL Lee, General Manager of MediaTek’s Wireless Communication business unit, stated that, “In the rapidly growing arena of new premium mid-range devices, mobile technology innovators know they need to stand out in a crowded field – P23 and P30 enable them to do that.”

Now that you know, you know to ask if the device you’re considering uses a Helio P23 or a HelioP30.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Gazelle ecoATM

By Bayle Emlein

If you’re reading this, you’re probably part of the demographic that cares about a device–phone, tablet, etc.—that has the most up-to-date features. What to do with the old one? You have only so many kids and friends to whom to pass it on to and if they have the good taste to associate with you, they probably have the same good taste in electronics. You can stuff the old one in a drawer or on the back of a closet shelf, donate it, or just toss it (responsibly) into electronic waste.

Or you can find ecoATM from Gazelle. Here you have two ways to exchange your old object for the best of all possible devices: cash. 1)To locate the nearest kiosk, visit www.ecoATM.com/locator. 2)Too far or don’t care to experience traffic and a mall parking lot? Go online to https://www.gazelle.com/trade-in.



In either case, you check to see if your device can be repurposed, you turn it, either at the kiosk or via a prepaid package. You should have cleared all your personal information beforehand. Just to be sure, they double check and refurbish it at their processing facilities in Louisville, KY. Once a device is submitted and its condition is confirmed by the processing center, consumers are paid for its value in the manner selected.

By paying a fair price for used devices, ecoATM Gazelle helps divert millions of smartphones and tablets from landfills. The other side of the coin are the thousands of refurbished devices ecoATM has for resale. If there’s an obsolete model that you just love, no matter its age, you might find a working sample here. Got a kid who loses a phone a week? Going on a trip where you don’t want to take your $1K magnet for sticky fingers? Look here for something expendable.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Mopria Alliance

By Bayle Emlein

The mission of the Mopria Alliance is to provide high-quality, intuitive, and fast wireless printing from smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. The Alliance developed the Mopria logo so users can easily identify devices which are mobile print-ready. Up 97% of printers sold worldwide are Mopria certified.



The Mopria Print Service is available for download from the Google Play™ Store for any Android 4.4 device or higher. The Mopria Print Service is also pre-installed on select ZTE, Amazon Fire and Huawei devices. Additionally, Samsung Galaxy devices utilize Mopria technology in the Samsung Print Service and Android 8.0 Oreo™’s new Default Print Service features core technology from the Mopria Print Service. Supported print settings include color, number of copies, duplex, paper size, page range, media type and orientation, as well as workplace features like user authentication, accounting capabilities, and stapling.

The Mopria Alliance is a non-profit membership organization formed by leading global technology companies. Founded by Canon, HP, Samsung and Xerox in 2013, the nonprofit membership organization has added Adobe, Konica Minolta, Qualcomm, Lexmark, Kyocera, Toshiba, Brother, Epson, Fuji Xerox, NEC, Pantum, Ricoh, YSoft, Sharp, Dell and Primax.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

SD Association

By Bayle Emlein

To develop and promote standards for memory cards, Panasonic, SanDisk Corporation and Toshiba Corporation established the SD Association in January 2000. Maintaining the same focus while continuing to develop features, the association has grown to nearly 1000 members who participate in setting interoperable SD standards. The Association encourages the development of consumer electronic, wireless communication, digital imaging and networking products.



Cards using SD Association standards, with reliable interoperability and its easy-to-use format, cover more than 80 percent of the memory card market. Smart phones, tablets, Blu-ray players, HDTVs, audio players, automotive multimedia systems, handheld PCs, digital cameras and digital video cameras feature SD interoperability. For more information about SDA or to join, please visit the Association’s website, https://www.sdcard.org.

Membership in the SD Association is open to anyone, and provides up-to-date information on the complete portfolio of SD standards. Members develop products and solutions that are interoperable with other SD-compatible devices and are designed to the SD standards.

Members have the opportunity to participate in SD Association standards development activities, such as committees and working groups that advance the way consumers save and use photos, music, documents, games, maps, movies. They seek other innovative applications made easier by SD standards.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Bagel Labs

By Bayle Emlein

In 2016, Bagel Labs launched the world’s first smart tape measure. Incorporating customer requests and suggestions into their next product, they plan to start manufacturing Bagel Square in November. Bagel Square combines a tape measure and a laser distance meter. The 5-meter (=16 feet) metal tape pulls out just like traditional tape measures, but reports to a widescreen digital display that connects to your smartphone through the Bagel app so that you can save and combine measurements and easily share them. For spaces where you can reach both ends, flick a button on the Bagel Square and it’s in laser mode. Measure space up to 30 meters (90.4 feet). Bagel Square has a 9-axis motion sensor to analyze the direction of each measurement and record it as a vector.


Watch the product video at https://youtu.be/YfPAYrTy3wA and you’ll understand why you want a Bagel Square.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Hour Number One: An Accident


Las Vegas is the first city in America to have a self-driving shuttle operating in real-time traffic.
However, in its first hour of service in downtown Las Vegas, the shuttle was involved in a collision with a delivery truck. There has been no report of injuries at this time.

The driver of the truck was cited by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

The project has many people intrigued, wanting to see how the shuttle would work.

The shuttle is set to run in a continuous loop downtown.

Those checking out the shuttle system won't see anything else like it across the entire country.

The goal is to get at least a quarter-million people -- locals and visitors, alike -- onboard, trying out the driverless technology, first hand.

As of now, the rides are free.

The shuttle can be boarded at any of the three stops located on Fremont and Carson Streets between Las Vegas Boulevard and 8th Street.

The shuttle seats eight with seatbelts and has the ability to immediately brake automatically or manually in case anything crosses its path -- something that was clearly tested in today's incident.

AAA is sponsoring the shuttle and says more than 30,000 people died on roads throughout the U.S. last year with around 90-percent of those crashes caused by human error. The goal is to keep things safer with a driverless world.

"It's usually really more of a fear, I think, of leaving the known than it is about the future of the unknown," said NASCAR driver Danica Patrick. "So sometimes you just have to let things go and when it's in the best interest of safety, I think it's a smart thing."

In Vegas Strong fashion, AAA will donate $1 to the Las Vegas Victims Fund for every rider that gets on the shuttle, giving back to those directly impacted by '1 October.' They're starting with a guaranteed $100,000 check.

A representative on behalf of AAA has stated on Twitter that the crash was caused by the truck backing into the shuttle at the time and was a result of human error, with the driver of the truck cited.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

More Closings

The cost-cutting strategy continues at Sears with another 63 stores targeted for closure early next year.

Emblematic of the struggle facing U.S. department stores, Sears Holdings has already closed more than 350 Sears and Kmart stores this year. An additional 45 Kmart stores and 18 Sears stores will be closing in late January 2018, the company said Thursday.

“Sears Holdings continues its strategic assessment of the productivity of our Kmart and Sears store base and will continue to right size our store footprint in number and size," the company said in a statement. "In the process, as previously announced we will continue to close some unprofitable stores as we transform our business model so that our physical store footprint and our digital capabilities match the needs and preferences of our members."

The 63 stores will remain open during the holiday season and employees at the closing stores will get severance pay and an opportunity to apply for other jobs within the retail chains. "Liquidation sales will begin as early as November 9 at these closing stores," the company said.

The retail industry s reeling as a growing number of shoppers do their buying online and e-commerce giant Amazon becomes the go-to for many consumers. But the decline of Sears has been particularly stark.

The iconic store chain, whose goods once filled American households from the garage to the living room, has struggled to remain relevant as shoppers increasingly bypass it to head to big box giants like Walmart, or specialty retailers like Best Buy and Home Depot instead.

In March, Sears said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it had "substantial doubt" about its ability to stay in business unless it could borrow more and generate additional cash from its assets. However, the notification was required because of a rule change that mandated businesses be more transparent about potential risks they face within a year of their reported financial statements. Independent auditor Deloitte said at the time that it believed Sears Holdings was still viable.

The company has initiated a turnaround plan this year that aims to slash $1 billion in costs annually, and cut the company's debt by $1.5 billion. Shedding low-performing stores has been key to the restructuring, but Sears also sold Craftsman, one of its most valuable brands, to Stanley Black & Decker for roughly $900 million.

In another move that could boost the company's balance sheet, Sears announced in July an agreement to sell its Kenmore appliance brand on Amazon. And the company has been increasing the perks available to its most frequent shoppers.

Just this week, Sears and Kmart launched a nearly month-long sale for members  of its "Shop Your Way'' loyalty program to woo customers during the all-important holiday period. Sears shoppers will get discounts ranging from 10% to 50%, and Kmart shoppers will see sales of 10% to 40% on all items through Nov. 25.

Some of the changes, while not increasing profits, do appear to be stemming the financial bleeding. While the company reported a net loss of $251 million for its second quarter that ended July 29, that was down from a loss of $395 million during the same period last year, and also beat S&P analysts projection of $266 million.

Still, there are continuing signs that Sears is no longer the dominant player it once was. Last month, it announced that for the first time in more than 100 years, it would no longer sell Whirlpool appliances because the two companies could not reach an agreement on price.  

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Apple iPhone Sales

A new study about actual users of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X shows that combined adoption of the two models during the first few days of use as a percentage of the total user base is higher than that of the iPhone 6s or 7 at the same time in rollout.

According to analytics firm Localytics, the iPhone X achieved 0.93 percent of the total iPhone user share after only a weekend of use. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus garnered 0.7 percent, pushing the pair over 1.6 percent.

For comparison, the iPhone 6s in 2015 captured 1 percent of the iPhone active user base, with the iPhone 6s Plus taking 0.3 percent. The iPhone 7 also seized 1 percent, with the tightly constrained iPhone 7 Plus seeing 0.2 percent of the active user base.

In 2014, the iPhone 6 captured 2 percent, with the iPhone 6 Plus collecting 0.3 percent.

What the percentages do not account for, and Localytics points out, is the growth in the iPhone user base over time. While the iPhone 6 saw the highest percentage of users in the first active week of use in 2014, there was a groundswell of users upgrading to the first larger form-factor iPhones produced —and a smaller amount of total users than there are now.

Localytics expects that if Apple's predictions of a best-ever quarter are accurate, the iPhone X will grab more of the overall user base than previous models have.

The research firm based the 2017 data on 70 million iOS devices globally. The iPhone X data collection period was Nov. 3 to Nov. 5.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

God Help Us

A Pew Research Center survey of US social media users found that more are turning to Twitter, YouTube—and even Tumblr—to get news.

Take Twitter, for example. More Twitter users (74%) said they are getting news from the social network than said the same in 2013 (52%).

But it’s not just Twitter.

More people on YouTube—a platform that’s not necessarily known for news content—are also turning to the site for news. In 2013, 20% said they did. Fast forward to 2017, and that number has increased to 32%.

And news-seeking among Snapchat’s users also increased by 12 percentage points between 2016 and 2017.

Separate June 2017 data from Kantar, which analyzed the social platforms US users had accessed in the past week, found that by far the highest proportion of respondents—85%—accessed news via Facebook.

By contrast, 39% said they did so via YouTube and almost as many (35%) through Twitter.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Lumion Cases

By Bayle Emlein

Even before the iPhone X was announced, Lumion was showing stylish cases to protect it.


The same models are available for the Galaxy Note 8. Lumion has a patent-pending semi-automatic slide on the back of its cases to keep cards out of view when not needed and permit easy access without when they are. The Osprey holds 2 cards. The Chinook case can hold five and has a high tech rugged design that provides extra protection for the screen and cut-outs. If you want to be sure the features of your are visible, choose a Diamont case, which has a clear back. The Savant is a wallet case with leather finish that has slots and pockets maximize your carrying capacity. Huey is a single-layer case molded from matte thermoplastic polyurethane. Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) is clear, smudge and finger-print resistant, and flexible. Huey provides a minimalist cushion to protect your phone.


Lumion has many more models to select from at https://lumionus.com.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Lifepack Hustle

By Bayle Emlein

The rucksack has entered the 21st Century. The Hustle collection of Lifepack packs and shoulder bags meets the needs of the millennial professional. They are solar powered and anti-theft.



Solar powered? Solar charging batteries keep all that essential 21st Century gear juiced up no matter how far off the grid you take it. The Hustle pack has a waterproof nylon cover you can pull out of its invisible pocket to be sure that everything stays dry in a downpour.

Anti-theft? Welcome to the 21st Century. An anti-cut layer of plastic and a retractable cable lock with a 3-digit combination lock the pack, attach your gear to the pack or the pack to a fixed object. An anti-shock foam pad at the bottom of the Lifepack protects your electronics from hard landings. Lots of organized storage keeps said gear in its place and accessible.

Solgaard’s goal is to have all pre-ordered Hustle packs and shoulder bags delivered by December. Instead of a little something in someone’s stocking, why not give a person you really care about something really nice to stuff. That person could be you.

Look for them at https://solgaard.co. Make your fingers leave the >M< off at the end, and note that the letter >A< is doubled.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Energizer Hard Case

By Bayle Emlein

You know what Energizer does: it keeps going and going. Avenir Telecom, one of the leading providers in Europe, has partnered with Energizer to develop chargers, cables, and surge protectors. At ShowStoppers in September, the afternoon before the opening of Mobile World Congress Americas, they featured two prototype models of telephone. The first is Energizer® Smartphone Hard Case H550S.



The Hard Case H550S is dustproof, waterproof, and drop tested. At 11.1mm, it is the thinnest device in its category. A “Gorilla Glass 3” screen is built in and it comes with an extra Asahi tempered glass screen protector. It sports a 16MP back camera.

Energizer Powermax P600S is a consumer product with a long-lasting battery for all day use. The curved edgeless screen of the 600S offers high-quality viewing on the Gorilla Glass screen.

Both phones will have a 4500mAh battery of granting the users twice as much time than the average smartphones of the market. Also like the other phones in the line, the Powermax P600S maintains a thin and elegant design.

Energizer lightning, USB-C and Micro-USB cables. for and are already available around the world through Avenir Telecom. A rugged smartphone that can keep on going and has style will be a nice addition to their product line and to consumer choice.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Doppler Labs is Gone

Doppler Labs, a smart earbud company that raised more than $50 million in funding from backers like Universal Music, Live Nation and the Chernin Group has shut down after running out of cash and options.



The company posted a farewell note to customers on its site this morning.

The startup most notably developed the Here One earbuds, a competitor to Apple’s AirPods that packed in noise-cancelling and a feature called “active listening,” which allowed users to augment the way they heard the world around them so they could tune out the hum of traffic or a jet engine while still being able to hear human voices.

In an extensive interview with Wired, CEO Noah Kraft told the publication that after preliminary acquisition meetings with all the “big five” (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft) didn’t go anywhere, the company was left scrambling to raise more money as lackluster sales of the Here Ones (the company sold just 25,000 pairs) made it apparent that the startup might not be cut out for the cutthroat world of hardware.

“We fucking started a hardware business! There’s nothing else to talk about. We shouldn’t have done that,” Kraft told Wired.

The company was early to the idea of wireless earbuds, launching a Kickstarter for an earlier product called Here Active Listening, which took the idea of headphones for a spin. It was a product that couldn’t even play music, it only utilized the company’s active listening noise augmentation, and yet the startup raised $635,000 in the campaign. In interviews, Kraft called the device a “proof of concept” for what would come later.

What came next were the Here Ones, a device that captured my attention and excitement in early demos, but was ultimately hampered by product and feature delays. The Achilles’ heel of the device was its paltry battery life, which negated most of the promises of a device that promised to augment your daily listening. While the company’s leadership initially gave the press battery life numbers that were in the range of AirPods, what ended up shipping was a device that showcased a lot of cool technologies in a tiny package that generally lasted only a couple of hours on a single charge.

Though Doppler Labs’ forward-thinking vision of a world where everyone has a computer in their ears may one day come to fruition, it will be another company’s challenge to take on.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Apple to Drop Qualcomm?

Apple Inc has designed iPhones and iPads that would drop chips supplied by Qualcomm Inc, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The change would affect iPhones released in the fall of 2018, but Apple could still change course before then, these people said. They declined to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the matter with the media.

The dispute stems from a change in supply arrangements under which Qualcomm has stopped providing some software for Apple to test its chips in its iPhone designs, one of the people told Reuters.

The two companies are locked in a multinational legal dispute over the Qualcomm’s licensing terms to Apple.

Qualcomm told Reuters it is providing fully tested chips to Apple for iPhones. “We are committed to supporting Apple’s new devices consistent with our support of all others in the industry,” Qualcomm said in a statement.

Though Qualcomm has for several years supplied Apple’s modems - which help Apple’s phones connect to wireless data networks - Intel Corp has provided upward of half of Apple’s modem chips for iPhones in recent years, Rasgon said. Intel in 2015 acquired a firm that would let it replace more of Qualcomm’s chips in iPhones, Rasgon said.

Rasgon said it’s too early to say definitively whether Apple fully intends to drop Qualcomm next year because Apple can likely make multiple contingency plans for different supplier scenarios.

“Apple is big enough that if they want to support multiple paths, they can do that,” Rasgon said. “Samsung (Electronics Co) did this too. A couple of years ago, Samsung designed Qualcomm out, but Qualcomm didn’t even know until it was close to time to ship” Samsung’s phones, Rasgon said.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Oclean One

By Bayle Emlein

Did you know that both Germany and the US have more owners of electronic toothbrushes than manual ones? The stats don’t mention usage, just ownership. Taking advantage of the trend to electrify everything and then tether it to the Internet via an app, the engineers and developers at Omate came up with a customizable sonic toothbrush, the Oclean One. The Oclean One has built-in gyroscope which can detect motion, angle, and pressure. The chipset uses an intelligent algorithm to analyze the data detected by the sensor. Using the app, your phone can give you statistics about your oral health care and you can access information about your oral care habits and use the info to improve brushing habits.




Oclean One has three modes (cleaning, whitening, and massage) and four intensity settings, for a total of twelve different combinations. Coupled with time variance, you have a choice of thousands of plans for any oral care need imaginable. A sonic toothbrush is more effective than manual or automatic models in removing plaque and whitening teeth.




The body of the Oclean One is sleek and fits nicely in the hand. The body surface is anti-bacterial and anti-fouling and the whole body is washable. The battery charges in 3.5 hours and a charge lasts 60 days. Charge before you go and the Oclean is good for most vacations.

A toothbrush may not be the most romantic gift possibility displayed at ShowStoppers for the Mobile World Congress Americas. But it will help you and those you care about deal more effectively with the overindulgences of the holidays. And is certainly more pleasant than an emergency trip to the dentist.