iPhone 6- Game Over

So the iPhone has officially been introduced to the world. Apple’s big announcement was yesterday, so let’s do a re-cap. Was it everything we thought it would be cracked up to be? Was it worth it to the folks that camped out in the streets of Cupertino; including the ones who braved the elements for over a week? How many rumors were correct? Let’s see.

So it was true that two sizes of the phone are being offered. Apple is releasing the regular sized iPhone 6 in a 4.7” model and an iPhone 6 “Plus” version with a 5.5” chassis. Both models are being offered in silver, gold and “space gray.” The carriers will be AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. Pre-orders start September 12th. With a two-year contract, the 4.7” model will start at $199 for 16gb, and the bigger 5.5” starting at $299 for the 16gb. Both phones are thinned out; the 4.7” is about 6.9mm and the 5.5” at 7.1mm, both with rounded edges.

As for what’s going on internally, perhaps the biggest news is Apple Pay, which may start taking the place of the wallet for iPhone users. Basically you can store all of your credit information in the phone on your passport app, and just swipe your phone to pay. All the major credit cards and a bunch of popular retailers are already on board. The card information is encrypted in your phone, which is putting to rest some security concerns. This is especially important on the heels of the big iCloud hack last week which resulted in a bunch of nude celebrity photos becoming not-so-private. Time will tell if this feature will become popular; people still get nervous putting their credit card information online, let alone on their smartphone.

Battery life is longer; you get a few extra hours of standby and talk time. Thank goodness. These phones will be quicker too; when connected to Wi-Fi the speed should be three times faster than the iPhone 5s. The Touch ID is standard with this phone, requiring a thumbprint to open your phone, as well as making purchases through iTunes.

The camera has been improved, as expected. It has a higher resolution, and there is more storage offered for storing both photos and videos. Now instead of keeping just 2,000 pictures on your phone, you can keep 3,000. Ain’t life grand? Optical visual stabilization has been put into place, which should help shoot photos that are a little less blurry. Images will also be sharper thanks to the new feature called “focus pixels” which determines the phone’s distance to its subject, allowing the camera to adjust accordingly. The front-facing FaceTime camera has been improved as well, allowing in over 80% more light. This is either a good thing or a bad thing for some, as some faces prefer require images.

So in the end, the new iPhone and iPhone plus are bigger, faster and have a lot of cool new options, and the rumors are laid to rest.





Up all Night

On the eve of Apple’s big iPhone 6 reveal, Amazon has decided to drop the price of their new smartphone to 99 cents. Amazon’s Fire Phone was released about two months back, and while the price drop is an obvious publicity stunt, others may see this as a desperate move on Amazon’s part. Fanfare about the Fire Phone fizzled out quickly after the phone’s big debut. Not like the Fire Phone can hold a candle to the iPhone 6, which has been one of Apple’s most anticipated releases since the iPhone first debuted.

Even with the ninety nine cent price tag, the offer of a one-year subscription to Amazon Prime is still offered. Just keep in mind that a two-year contract through AT&T is part of the purchase, and that this is a limited-time offer, so if you want to take advantage of it, do it soon!

Finding Tinder not so Tender? Meet Hinge

Looks like Tinder finally has some competition. The next big thing is called Hinge, and the buzz is that it’s set to blow up bigger than the uber-popular Tinder any day now. If you haven’t heard about it yet, Tinder is the free dating app that plays like a card game; you swipe right on people’s profiles that you are interested in, and swipe left for those that don’t make the cut. Once you swipe right, if the other person swipes right on you, it’s a match. Once you are matched up, the app allows you to direct message each other. What happens from there is up to you.

Hinge is similar to Tinder in the fact that they are both free apps that work in conjunction with your Facebook page, and allow you to browse through the pictures of potential matches. The difference is that Tinder allows users to solely see pictures, mutual interests and mutual Facebook friends whereas Hinge asks you for more details. Right under your picture you can include vital information like your age, what city you live in, what college you attended and where you work. If you find it important, you can even state your religious views.

Hinge uses your information from Facebook to create your profile, and it matches you through friends of your Facebook friends. This is a good way to authenticate that someone is who they say they are; however this may inspire you to clean up your Facebook pages before starting with the app. Currently the app will run the past 25 profile pictures. So you may not want that bad haircut from 2009 popping up on your Hinge. You have control over all of that though. The only drawbacks may be if you keep ex-boyfriends/ex-girlfriends or other “frien-emies” on your Facebook. Being matched up with their friends may be awkward, so you may look twice at your friends list before signing up.

Hinge also listens to you in terms and pays attention to who you are swiping left. The app tracks what you are not looking for and what you are interested in, so that it can send you more of the matches that you want. Hinge just launched in San Francisco back in January, so it is still very new but so far its future looks bright. This app is currently available for both Android and iOS.


The Labor Day Fun Guide

Hopefully most of you have a three day weekend ahead of you, and if you do we have some ideas on some cool stuff to do over the next few days. These things will get you out the door and out of your pajamas. After all , these are the last days of summer, you’ve got to enjoy them while you can!

+ Labor Day is the perfect excuse to gather your friends together, but instead of the traditional barbeque with hotdogs and beer, now’s your chance to switch it up. You can throw a themed cocktail party with hor’durves and pretty plastic cocktail glasses. Make use of some food coloring and go with a red, white and blue theme. Fill your table with mini-meatballs, sandwiches and something simple like a cheese tray. This is a recepe for a guatanteed good time.

+ The beach will likely be overcrowded during the day throughout the weekend, so switch it up and throw a bonfire at night. Many national beaches allow bonfires as long as they are contained in pits. Bring some buckets of fried chicken, and some stuff to make smore’s and make a night of it under the stars.

+ Go hiking. While everyone else is off visiting family, grab a friend and take advantage of some empty trails. If you don’t know of any good places, check out www.localhikes.com for some new places to explore.

+ Go camping. All the best spots in your area are already likely reserved, but that gives you a chance to explore some new spots that you normally would not visit. Vistit http://www.reserveamerica.com/ for a huge list of places to camp in your area. Hopefully you can find your own little gem.

+ Even though it sounds generic; Labor Day is a great shopping day for a reason. There are deals to be had around every corner. But instead of joining the mob scene at the big-name retailers and chains, instead go poke around some mom n’ pop stores. Not only will you beat the crowds, but you will be supporting the underdog and stimilating your local economy. You’re probably going to find some unique stuff at better prices too.

+ Go out for a drink. The long last days of summer usually lead up to some restless nights. If having a libation or two is your thing, call a cab and go out. Pick a new spot that you haven’t tried. Go check out one of those craft cocktail joints that have been springing up like wildfire. Even if you end up with a lampshade on your head, at least you know you had a good time. Afterall, there’s no work in the morning. ♥


It’s a Dog’s Life

So we all know about the GoPro and how they are used for extreme sports, riding bikes and skateboarding. This type of “wearable technology” has gained popularity in the last few years, and allows viewers to experience the user’s activities first hand. Now we can see through the wearer’s eyes what it feels like to skydive, to do motocross tricks, and to surf. Now there is a GoPro for the not so extreme: for your dog. Ever wanted to know what a dog’s day is like? Wonder no more. Now you can outfit your pup with a GoPro too.

This dog-experience camera comes with two harnesses. One is designed to be worn on your pets back for over-the-head shots, and the other around the neck for a birds-eye-view. Now you can check in with what your dog has been up to. What do dogs do all day anyway? Chase birds, dig holes, eat food and roll around in the dirt? Now you can see for yourself through the dog’s GoPro. The cool factor gets upped if you have a more adventurous pup that dives into water or knows a lot of tricks.

Naturally these harnesses are marketed for use with dogs, but we are sure that is not the only animal they will work on. They can be strapped to other animals as well, with specifications that are designed for small animals weighing 15 pounds, to larger animals weighing up to 120 pounds. So while your cat might not fit this device, a small chimpanzee certainly can. We will surely start seeing some interesting YouTube videos starring some active pets and other animals. The Dog GoPro harnesses retail at $60.00.

Jenky iPhone Batteries

Apple announced this week that it will replace some jenky iPhone 5 batteries at no cost. These are for the phones that were sold between September 2012 and January 2013. Your phone may be in need of a battery if it needs frequent charging and looses charge quickly. There are several different ways to check if your phone is eligible, but the easiest is to check your serial right from your phone and input the number into Apple’s serial checker. To find the serial go to Settings, then to General, then About, then Serial Number. The serial number is listed on this page. Plug that number into Apple’s serial box, and check to see if your phone is affected. Apple has also stated that they may refund users that had to pay for their own battery replacements previously.

If your iPhone is okayed for replacement, you can just bring your phone down to the nearest Apple store and they will swap it out for you. If you are not eligible for a replacement, but got stuck with a crappy battery, never fear. You can swap it out for the new iPhone 6 in a few months.

Waiting Game

The countdown is on for the release of the iPhone 6; with the great unveil date rumored to be September 9th. As the day gets closer, speculation is growing. There are tons of mockup photos all over the internet of what the new iPhone 6 is going to look like. You can already buy a case for the unreleased iPhone on eBay. Keep your receipt though, in case the chassis rumors are not true. It’s also being said that there was a design flaw that had to be fixed at the last minute. The story goes that the phone was supposed to be about half the size of the iPhone 5s, but that there was a problem with the back lighting. When it was scheduled to be fixed, there was a problem at the assembly plant. There is no word if this might push back the release date. Until then, we have to wait.

HDMI: Save your Loot


What HDMI cable do I need? I just purchased a new Samsung TV. What HDMI cable should I buy for it? There’s so many out there to choose from. Does bandwidth matter? Some sell for $10, others for $70. Does more money equal a better cable?


Any high-speed HDMI cable will work as well as any other HDMI cable on the market. If you purchase a more expensive cable, what you are paying with is the cable’s marketing; which is the packaging and advertising. Cheaper cables will produce the same images as more expensive HDMI cables. Most of the HDMI cables that are on the market today are high-speed, but just be careful to double check. Also be wary of any cable that states the “1.4” or “4K” specification, as those are connection specifications, not cable specs. So those labels have more to do with the hardware of the cable, not the picture it produces. Any HDMI 2.0 will work just fine.

Now take the fifty bucks you saved and go buy yourself something pretty.

Beauty 2.0

There was a big buzz at this year’s CES tradeshow when Panasonic debuted their new hair dryer, The Nanoe, back in January. Although Panasonic makes many hair dryers, along with curling irons and rollers too, this was a first for the company in the way of spotlighting a beauty tool at one of the biggest technology trade-shows of the year. This means that beauty products are being pushed into the world of high-tech, and are starting to be taken seriously for once. Beauty is a billion dollar industry in the U.S., but is overlooked in the world of tech. Looks like the times are a-changin. There’s a bunch of new stuff in the world of super-techie beauty.

The Nanoe is manufactured by taking moisture from the air and putting it back into the user’s hair. This works by taking naturally occurring ions and breaking them down into smaller particles that are then combined with water molecules. The company claims that this dryer is perfect for people that have damaged or compromised hair, as it infuses hair with 1000 times more moisture than other ion dryers that are currently on the market. This in turn minimizes frizz, heat damage and split ends. The hair dryer is a little on the pricey side, usually running from about $130-150.00. Like the saying goes however, “time is money” and if it really saves time in the end, the extra cash might be worth it. Panasonic liked this idea so much they added a hair straightener is to the line for around the same price.

Some other neat innovations that came out in the beauty world this year include affordable lasers that treat acne, remove hair and can erase wrinkles in your skin. Now instead of going to a clinic for these services, you can do them yourself right in your own home.

In the same tech vain, there are a few noteworthy beauty apps out there that are popular right now. There is an app called Plum Perfect that allows you to take a photo of yourself, and then input the look you are going for. Want smoky eyes with a nude lip but aren’t sure what colors work best? The app will take care of you. It lines up what products would look best with your complexion and facial structure. It even gives you an explanation of why certain products will work for you, so that you will be better informed on what looks best when you are out on your own.

A San Francisco-based company called Stylebee has an app that offers a service where a make-up artist or hairstylist will come directly to your home for a set fee. You can even pay a manicurist to come out and do your nails. A lot of women avoid the beauty salon because of the social aspect. This is also huge for women that have children and are either stuck at home or short on time. This app has all the makings of becoming the wave of the future.

There are a bunch of new apps that allow you to play around with new looks, all from the comfort of your smartphone. You can try out new hair colors and styles, new make-up looks and even virtual clothes. Most of these apps are free or cost about a dollar; quite a bit cheaper than a personal shopper.

All A-Twitter about Bots

Twitter announced this week that around 23 million of their users are bots, not actual humans. That’s a whole lot of fake profiles. Which brings up a question that a lot of folks have; what exactly is a bot? We hear of them taking over apps, and invading websites, but there’s still some confusion on what they are. For starters, “bot” is short for “internet robot” and the short definition is “a software application that has the ability to take over and run automated tasks through the internet.” So bots start out good. They can do things like patrol websites and do helpful things like check product reviews for profanity, count negative reviews that need attention etc, all at a much faster rate than a human. Bots are only considered bad when they are used for what’s considered “malicious purposes,” meaning that they are taking over an application for a destructive reason. They are mostly used for creating false profiles on social media websites, trying to entice a user to click on a link that will direct you to either a porn site or some other shady fraudulent site. There are even particularly evil spambots that are able to crack passwords, and once they gain access, can really turn into a headache. This is where they gain control over your accounts and start spamming all of your contacts.

The issue with bots having such a large presence on websites like Twitter is that they are giving a misrepresentation of how many users a site actually has. This affects advertisers mostly, as they are paying a fee to reach a certain amount of users. They do not account for how many profiles are actually bots. In the case of Twitter, 23 million fake profiles rounds out to about 9% of their active accounts. The company says that number might be on the low end, so the percentage is most likely larger. The only option is to be extra suspicious of any direct mail that you receive, and to think twice before clicking on any sketchy links. Twitter will undoubtedly be putting in overtime to try and clean up some of their bot profiles, but in the meantime there are some guidelines to follow if you don’t want to get spammed. First and foremost, don’t follow everyone back who follows you, even if it is the polite thing to do in the world of social media. Be wary of accounts that follow a lot of profiles, but don’t have many followers. Also be suspicious of any profile that has a lot of typos. Having a few is normal, but when words are continuously misspelled, chances are that it’s a spambot. These bots know that sex sells, so most of their profile pictures are of attractive women. That pretty picture can burn you in the end, so keep your eyes open and your mouse to yourself.