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Weekend of August 27th, 2010
Helping you with your tech dilemmas, answering many of your questions and emails. Happy Birthday to our awesome App Developer, Horacio Balseiro!!
ITTV Video Update
Want to drive a super sports car for less than $40? Rob's got something your car might beg for. Also featuring: Chris Graveline with This Week in Tech History.
Listeners & Guests on the show this week:
For ALL the details ... be sure to listen to the show by downloading the MP3 or clicking the RED & WHITE "Play" button on the media player, both on the right-hand side of this page.
Tech News & Commentary
Tim in Bellville, Michigan listening online asked: "Searching through eBay and saw this thing called APa, that resembles an iPad. Just wondering if you guys know anything about those products. I guess they're out of China."
Like a lot of the electronics we get, look on the back and they say "Made in China". So yes, the APad is yet another product coming from China and designed to look just like the popular iPad tablets. Some of these army of tablets also go by the name "iPed" and "EPad." The actual APad brand name seems to be a line of tablets from a company called Orphan Electronics. The two most commonly advertised models from them are the aPad M800 and the aPad M16. Both models offer expandable storage using flash memory cards and support WiFi connections with 802.11 b-and-g. But not the newer 802.11 'n'.
The M800 runs Android 1.7.2, has a 7" display, and costs between $149 and $199 depending on the source. The larger and faster M16 runs either Android 2.1 or Windows CE 6, offers a 10.2" display, and costs between $299 and $399. These prices are approximate because the websites offering them for sale vary widely.
We have to say that it's buyer beware on these sorts of devices. Sure, Android is a solid and well supported operating system, but who will you turn to if you need to repair your tablet? Where will you get your software upgrades from? What's the warranty? How about accessories? The thing to remember is, the aPad is not "a" device, it's a whole family of devices. So be sure you know the specs of the model you're buying, before you make any sort of purchase!
For more information, tune in to Hour 1 of our podcast.
"Wireless Update” Weekly Feature with Chuck Hamby from Verizon Wireless
Do you have a social media fixation? Chuck Hamby returns this week to tell us about some of the social-media-friendly interfaces available on today's top wireless phones.
The "Into Tomorrow" team discussed the latest apps that they have been playing with recently.
- For Android: Memory Size Pies - FREE app that displays your available memory storage space as Pie Charts
- For BlackBerry: Newly updated Facebook App 1.8
- For iPhone/iPad:
Rob recommends: Family Tracker for iPhone ($3.99) / iPad ($5.99) - Just what the name implies: It tracks your family -- wife, husband, children, fiancee -- anytime ... as long as they have their iPhones with them, tracking via GPS. You have to authorize someone to track you first. You'll be able to "ping" the iPhone you're searching for and see their current location. Great app to keep track of kids! Only problem is that the GPS signal may run your battery too fast, but there are different settings you can adjust.
Chris recommends: Food Network Nighttime - FREE for iPhone Keep up with your favorite Food Network chefs.
Tune in to Hour 1 of our podcast for more details.
Guest in this hour:
Paul Scandariato, VP of Marketing – Apparent (Doxie Scanner)
Apparent makes smart devices and software, including IntelliScanner barcode readers that organize stuff, and Doxie, the amazing scanner for documents.
Norman sent us the following email and asked: "I would like to find out what products I need to buy to start podcasting from my home. Also, what to do to get my podcast up on the web so I can link to it from my Blogspot. I know you guys are more into products but any advice would be appreciated. By the way, did I mention I am on social security and cheaper may not be better, but that's the way I have to go? God Bless and Thank You for being there."
Good news! You don't need to spend very much money at all. You can use a variety of recording and editing tools, and hosting your podcast can be inexpensive or even free. For example, Mark Lautenschlager records voice on his computer at home using the Marshall MXL USB.009 microphone. This is an excellent product, but a little pricey at approximately $300. For about one third the price, you can buy a Samson C01U, also a USB microphone and also extremely high quality.
Once you get your audio recorded, you'll need to edit it. If you want to have multiple tracks, say, to have your voice heard over a sound effect or music bed, then you'll need a multitrack editor. A free solution is the open source Audacity program. It's powerful but can be tricky to learn. Here at the studio, we use Adobe Audition, which is just about the best software there is for this task, but it costs over $300 for a single computer license. You could also use WavePad Master Edition from NCH Software. There is a free version you can get started with, and the Master Edition adds all their professional features and costs less than $60 for a single computer license.
Hosting will be next on your list. You have several options again. If you want to host your podcasts free of charge, no matter how big they are, or how many you create, you can check out Ourmedia.org. The catch here is that your podcast is published under a Creative Commons license and archived through the Internet web site Archive.org. In other words, it goes into the public domain. At the other end of things are full service operations like our friends at StreamGuys.com, where prices vary depending on disk space used and how much monthly bandwidth you want, but they provide support for every step of the way, including getting your podcast in all the popular indexes.
Mark has used Amazon.com's S3 hosting for his church podcasts. S3 is Amazon-speak for Simple Storage Service. You store your podcast files there and link to them from your web site or blog. The pricing seems difficult to understand because it's broken down by storage and transfer, but it's really inexpensive. A Libsyn 800MB account (that's storage and bandwidth) costs about $30. Amazon.com S3, for 1GB of space streaming 50GB per month, would cost less than $11. So it's worth checking out.
David sent us the following email and asked: "You have your picture on the website for "iHearSafe" safe volume earbuds, and I simply want to suggest you do a follow-up segment to highlight the plight of what looks like a terrific product caught up in an ugly legal battle. When I heard about this product I immediately thought it was the perfect thing for my kid to protect his ears (then 5, now 8) only to find out they aren't selling them anymore. I am simply amazed that such a great idea that fits a huge need for kids should be wiped off the market so a venture capitalist can avoid paying royalties to the inventor. The more this word gets out, the sooner I can get earbuds for my kid (the latest judgment looks like it won't be untilwell into 2011 now). FYI I truly, honestly have no connection with the parties involved but simply wish I could buy this product."
We really appreciate your note and glad that you brought it up. We were very happy to have the inventor Christine Ingemi on our show a while back and help promote her great idea to help save kid's hearing. For those who don't know... Christine, a mother of TWO autistic children, noticed that her kids were listening to their MP3 players too loud she realized that it could not be good for their hearing. The fact that two of her kids, being autistic, were not able to verbalize that the music was too loud and hurting their ears magnified the problem. So, she invented these safe volume headphone and earbuds.
Unfortunately -- as you pointed out -- there were some legal issues with her "partners" and last we heard the litigation continues. Take a look at an interesting article online by TMCnet.com. We invite our audience to please read it and just maybe ... there is something that someone else can do to assist.
Consumer Reports: "Print For Less" with Terry Sullivan
At-home printing costs can rack up if you're not careful. Learn how you can save ink, save paper, and be "green".
David in Pittsboro, North Carolina asked: "I have Outlook 2003 and wish to export that file to Thunderbird or Google contacts and I'm having difficulty exporting it. Would appreciate any tips you may have."
if you're using Thunderbird, there's actually very little you have to do, as that program will import your Outlook contacts directly. This is assuming that Outlook and Thunderbird are installed on the same computer.
1) Start Thunderbird.
2) Open the Address Book.
3) From the Tools menu, choose Import. Select Address Book and click Next.
4) Highlight Outlook and click Next. That should add an address book to Thunderbird called "Contacts" that contains your Outlook contacts.
Now, to go between machines, or import to Google Contacts, what you'll want to do is export your contacts folder to a comma separated values file, or CSV file, which you can then import into either Thunderbird or Google Contacts.
1) Start Outlook and pull down the File menu. Choose Import and Export.
2) Highlight Export to a File and click Next.
3) Highlight Comma Separated Values (Windows) and click Next. The next window shows you a list of all your folders in Outlook.
4) Highlight the Contacts folder and click Next. Outlook will prompt you to enter a file name. Give it a name that makes sense to you, like "Exported Contacts," to make it easy to find the file later.
5) In Thunderbird, you open the Address Book and select Import from the Tools menu.
6) Select Address Book and click Next.
7) Select Text File and click Next. Navigate to the file you exported, and click to import it.
In Google Contacts, it's just about as easy. Browse to Gmail and click Contacts in the left hand column. In Contacts, click on the More Actions button. Choose Import on that menu and you will be prompted for the file to import. Navigate to the file you exported from Outlook and click to upload it.
We hope that helps!
Tech News & Commentary
David in Scottsdale, Arizona listening on Sirius asked: "Wondering about surge protectors. I've never used one and never had a problem. I don't know if we're just lucky. We live in Arizona and don't have a lot of thunderstorms. I bought one that is 490 Joules and was planning to use it for my computer area and my home entertainment area. Didn't know if it was enough."
Surge Protectors are a great first line of defense for your electronics. It's not just lightning from thunderstorms that can cause problems. Many surges can even come from the power company. There a re a few things you want to look at when choosing a surge protector. You should find a couple of ratings on them. You want to first look for the Clamping voltage. This tells you what voltage will cause the MOVs to conduct electricity to the ground line. (The MOVs are what take the extra current during a surge and redirect it, keeping your equipment safe.) A lower clamping voltage indicates better protection. There are three levels of protection in the UL rating -- 330 V, 400 V and 500 V. Generally, a clamping voltage more than 400 V is too high.
The next thing you want to look at is the Energy absorption/dissipation - This rating, which is the "joules" number you mentioned, tells you how much energy the surge protector can absorb before it fails. A higher number indicates greater protection. Look for a protector that is at least rated at 200 to 400 joules. For better protection, look for a rating of 600 joules or more.
Then you want to look at the response time - Surge protectors don't kick in immediately; there is a very slight delay as they respond to the power surge. A longer response time tells you that your computer (or other equipment) will be exposed to the surge for a greater amount of time. Look for a surge protector that responds in less than one nanosecond.
Tune in to Hour 2 of our podcast for more details.
"This Week in Tech History" Weekly Feature with Chris Graveline
Danny in Miami, Florida watches our ITTV Video Updates at IntoTomorrow.com asked: "I'm a current MetroPCS customer. I heard that they are gonna switch to the LTE technology. Do you guys know when they are going to switch? and if they were getting any Android phones?"
We contacted MetroPCS and got the following reply: “MetroPCS has plans to roll out LTE networks in each of their markets by the end of 2010. At this time, we don’t have any announcements about Android phones, but we currently offer a full spectrum of devices, including touchscreen smartphones, that meet any lifestyle and budget. MetroPCS is always looking for ways to meet their customers’ wireless service needs, so stay tuned for more on that front later this year.”
Recently, MetroPCS' first LTE handset will be the Samsung Craft. They say that they will begin their LTE rollout -- LTE is their version of 4G, similar to Verizon's and some other carriers -- in Las Vegas and Dallas Forth Worth area.
Interestingly, the MetroPCS CEO Roger Linquist said that his company would bolster their handset lineup too. MetroPCS recently had a conference call with analysts, as they were going over quarterly earnings. "Our lineup will include a number of Android devices by the end of the year," he said. Linquist also said, that a some point in the future, MetroPCS will migrate its CDMA voice costumers to VoIP technology working over LTE, explaining such move will provide, substantial capacity.
Jim in Idaho Falls, ID listening on 1260 KBLI asked: "I have one computer that has Vista and another one with XP. I have a printer hardwired to the XP machine and I'm trying to setup the Vista machine to access the printer. I used to have it the other way around and it worked. But I have not been able to do it this way."
First, you must enable File and Printer Sharing on the Local Area Network Connection. You can access that through the Networks and Internet option in the Control Panel. Then, also from Control Panel, select Printers and Faxes. Find the printer you want to share, right click on its icon, and chose Sharing in the drop down menu. Give the printer a name to be shared under, and you should be all set.
If your Windows Vista computer does not see your Windows XP computer, or the shared printer, the chances are that something in your security software or firewall settings needs to be changed on the Windows XP machine. That's the single most common reason for network folders and printers to be blocked.
Guest in this hour:
David Owens, VP of Marketing – Sprint
Are you ready for next hot Android phone this summer? This one happens to be on Sprint’s 4G network and it’s pretty "Epic"!
“Into Tomorrow” Product Spotlight with Rob Almanza: SoundRacer FM Transmitter -- Click Here or on Rob's face for details
Bill in Tuscon, Arizona listening on XM sent us the following email and asked: "I'll be doing some international travel in the coming weeks. What's the best cell phone to take along, that will let me call back to the U.S., surf the web and check emails along the way ... without running up a ridiculous phone bill?"
You'll want to look at GSM Phones or those that can use a SIM card. When we're in Europe, we buy a SIM card from a local network provider like Vodafone or Orange. They usually offer low rates to call or text internationally. And while, you're there, you can have people call the local instead of your US number. You can, also buy international phone cards. Unfortunately, international calling can still be very expensive.
An option Chris and I would agree on is the a phone like the iPhone (GSM Phone). So far, it's worked everywhere we've been around the world. And, what you can do to save money with AT&T, is to purchase their international calling package before you head out, so that you'll pay lower rates when calling the US from Europe or anywhere else. They also have special packages for data. Also, because the iPhone is a Wi-Fi-enabled device, you can search for hotspots near you to browse the Internet. In a lot of places, like Starbucks, you can log-on for free for a limited time.
Other GSM phones: Nokia and Samsung have several of them.
Tune in to Hour 2 of our podcast for more details.
Tech News & Commentary
Richard in California asked: "I'm trying to buy a camcorder.I want to know the difference between the Flip Slide HD, the Sony Blogee, and the Kodak ZI8 HD. I'm thinking about the Kodak because it also takes pictures."
All three of these cameras are very similar in a lot of ways. First, they're all "pocket camcorders", meaning they can ... fit your pocket. They're all flash-based, so they don't have any moving hard drives. And they all have a built-in USB connector so you can connect them directly to your computer. You mentioned you were leaning towards the Kodak because it also took still pictures. All three of these will do still pictures.
The best advice is to stop by a local electronics retailer and see if they have any of these out for you to touch and feel. See which one feels right for you.
For more information, tune in to Hour 3 of our podcast.
"Into Gaming Update” Weekly Feature with Mark Lautenschlager
The latest Lara Croft game is missing something very important to Lara Croft games. In fact, a "couple" of somethings! Listen for details!
Dave and the team discussed Sprint's upcoming release of Samsung Epic 4G phone
- 4" Super AMOLED Screen
- Slide-out hard QWERTY keyboard (comfortable to type on)
- Android 2.1 -- Wil eventually get the 2.2 update
- Front Facing VGA Camera / 5 MP Camera on back
- Panoramic Photos using its camera. (Watch video below)
- Available Aug. 31st for $249 after a 2-year contract and rebates
Here's a demo of Samsung Epic 4G's "Panorama" feature -- One of Into Tomorrow's initial favorite features. Samsung Epic will be available to public on Sprint on Aug. 31, 2010.
John in South Carolina asked: " I'd like to know about setting up an HTC 6800 cell phone to use Wi-Fi only, to make calls using my magicJack for free."
For those who don't know, magicJack is a VOIP product, that is, a device that uses your computer to send telephone calls over the Internet. You plug a standard telephone in to the magicJack, you plug the magicJack into a USB port on your computer that's connected with the Internet, and run the supplied software. For less than $20 a year, you can make all the domestic local and long distance calls you want.
Now the cell phone. Here's the problem: The cell phone is built to make telephone calls in one manner only, by using the wireless network of the carrier who sold the phone. Yes, you can unlock phones and switch carriers, but you're still connecting to the wireless network of one carrier or another. The HTC 6800 is a smartphone running the Windows Mobile 6 operating system.
The only way to make a phone call using your DATA connection instead of the wireless cellular network is to use a third party app like Skype Mobile. The good news for you is, Skype Mobile is available for Windows Mobile 6, and Sprint does allow it to be used on their data network, so it should be as simple as getting Skype Mobile loaded on your phone. If for some reason you can't get Skype Mobile working on your phone, you could always consider buying a cordless phone to plug in to your magicJack. That would give you the same cordless conversation ability as using your cell phone.
For more information, tune in to Hour 3 of our podcast.
Guest in this hour:
Brian Maffitt, Founder & Chief Creative Officer – Total Training
Total Training provides fun and functional video-based training for all sorts of computer graphics software, from Adobe to Microsoft, to audio and 3D apps.
IFA 2010 Update
Learn about the rich history behind one of the largest consumer electronics trade shows we report from each year in Berlin, Germany.
Victor in Buffalo, Missouri listening via the Android App asked: "It's time to upgrade my battery backup for my computers and also wanted to get one for my 47-inch TV. Is it based on how large the screen is? Or how many amps do I need to watch my TV for like 30 minutes when the power goes out due to electrical storms?"
Probably the main thing you want to look for when shopping for a battery backup unit, is the wattage it can handle. If you know what how many watts whatever you want to pug into it uses, you should be able to find one fairly easily that fits your needs. Most of the units will have a chart on the outside of the box with how long the power will last based on how many watts you are pulling. Plasma TVs pull more watts than LCDs do, so if you have a plasma, you'll probably need a more powerful unit. Check the manual or manufacturer's website for the TV you have and it should tell you how much power it comsumes.
If you have troubble finding the info, you could always look into products like the "Kill-a-Watt." (Click here for link) This is a small device that you plug into the wall. You then plug whatever you want to measure in the front of it, and on its LCD screen, it'll tell you how many watts are being pulled from whatever you plugged into it. That would help you determine how big of a UPS to get.
Faith sent us the following email and asked: "I heard on your show tonight that "LunaScape" was available for the iPad and Windows. I was wondering is it is safe and secure for Windows 7? I would like to use it."
Mark Lautenschlager on our staff has spent some time running Lunascape on his notebook and desktop, both of which run Windows 7. So let's ask him. He had no problems whatsoever loading Lunascape onto his computers. However, he stopped using it. Why? Well, the reason he wanted to run Lunascape was to be able to quickly switch rendering engines while looking at a web page, to see which did the best job of displaying the page. The problem was, Lunascape took more time initializing the Gecko and Webkit engines than it took my computer to load Firefox or Chrome. Since Lunascape really provided me with no advantage over simply loading the alternate browsers, and there were some glitchy things with it, he decided it wasn't worth the hassle.
If you want to download it and give it a try, though, we don't believe you'd be risking anything. The program triggered no virus or malware warnings, it uninstalled without an issue, and gave me no uneasy feelings at all.
If you have any questions about any of this week's show info, please email us here.
How can an FM transmitter boost your ego? Meet SoundRacer. An FM transmitter that gives your car the sounds of a V8 or V10 engine, no matter what vehicle you own.
SoundRacer is available in two flavors.
1) V8 Engine
2) V10 Engine
**We demoed the V10 model on our Product Spotlight. Watch video above.**
Being an FM transmitter, it comes with a line-in cable that allows you to plug-in any audio device to play your tunes.
What do YOU think about SoundRacer? Is it worth spending money on it? Send me a note below or leave us a comment on the video above.
This Week’s Prizes for Our Listeners
SleepPhones: A Sheep of Your Dreams Kit
Smith Micro Software: Copies of Anime Studio Pro 7
Total Training: Copies of Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended: Essentials
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