What’s with the Pokemon Craze?

Since its release this month, people are going insane over Nintendo’s Pokemon Go. If you are one of the few who are in the dark about the craze, we will bring you up to speed.

There has been much controversy over Pokemon Go, due to distracted Pokemon players that are not paying as much attention to their surroundings as they should. There have been multiple incidents reported so far of various incidences. This week Pokemon made the evening news when of a player crashing into a cop car while playing and driving. A few weeks ago it was reported that a teenager had stumbled upon a dead body while trying to capture water Pokemon in a creek. There have also been various reports of real killing kidnappings and robberies that have been arranged by other players.

In a nutshell, the game is location-based, meaning that it is fueled by your phone’s GPS. Your mission is to capture Pokemon in real time, and the game uses your surroundings as part of the adventure. The missions to find Pokemon can be near or far, and the game uses real-life destinations in your area. Pokemon is being crediting by some for getting gamers off the couch and out in the real world getting exercise. Most games don’t require you to leave your couch. Some players are using it as a social tool as well. Players can seek out other gamers in the street, as it is pretty easy to tell who is playing with the app. There are also hangouts throughout the app that will get you connected with other players.

The game is uber popular in big cities, where there are plenty of Pokemon hot spots and what they call “Pokemon gyms” available. Not so much for small-town players, or yet at least. We are sure that

There is a little bit of a culture barrier when trying to describe the characters. Who is JigglyPuff? So far, we know that in Japan, he is known as “Purin”. He (or she?) is known as a balloon species that is pink with cat ears and a furry forehead. Then there is Pickachu, who it the most recognizable Pokemon character. You can tell you are hunting this character when you see their characteristic yellow color and black-tipped bunny ears. There are hundreds of characters in the Pokemon empire, as you go through the game you get to meet more and more.

Can These Kevlar Cell Phone Cables Really Withstand Anything?

We’ve all likely had bad experiences with cheap, flimsy cell phone cables and accessories. You know that ones that start to fray after just a few months of use? Not only are cheap quality cables annoying, they can be dangerous. Damaged charger and USB cables can create a hazard for electrical fires, which in 2008, damaged some 53,600 homes, killed 500 people, injured 1,400 more, and caused $1.4 billion in property damage. While it’s important to be safe, it’s a pain to have to go to the store every time you need a new charger.

What if there was a cell phone charger that could withstand anything — and we mean anything? The Nonda company is now taking pre-orders on a new charger cable called Zus, claiming that these Kevlar-enforced cables (that’s the stuff bulletproof vests are made out of) are the last cell phone cable accessories you’ll ever need.

These cables come with a lifetime guarantee — which is a lot better than the average two-year lifespan of a typical smartphone. The Zus’ Indiegogo campaign says they’re cat-proof, puppy-proof and even get-run-over-by-a-car-proof. They say the cable can be used to pull 4,000 pounds and lift 50 pounds of weight. They’ve been tested at up to 15,000 insertions and still function, which is more than even the standard RJ45 plug’s excellent 1,000 to 2,000 capacity.

The folks over at DigitalTrends.com decided to put all of these Zus cable claims to the test. In their video, they seem to verify that these cell phone cables can, in fact, lift 15 pounds. This is a lot more than the average cell phone cables’ tensile strength of four pounds. It can also withstand voracious animal chews from a cute dog, but can it tow a car or get blown up and still function? Watch the video to find out.

The Zus comes in three types: Micro USB to USB, lightning cables to USB, and USB-C to USB. Is it really the last cable you’ll ever need? That might depend on how often you need to use it for car towing or exploding dynamite.

Lightning Cables FAQ

Technology changes so fast that sometimes it’s not easy to keep up with the latest products on the market. When Apple switched their standard cables from the 30-pin dock to their new Lightning cables, it left a lot of people confused. How will this affect your phone or tablet? Will you need to purchase all new plugs and cell phone accessories? Is your phone suddenly obsolete? If you’ve got questions about Lightning cables, we’ve got all the answers covered here.

What are Lightning cables used for?
As of September 2012, Lightning cables are the standard connective for linking iPhones, iPads and iPods with chargers, host computers, screens and other peripherals. They’ve completely replaced the old 30-pin dock. Today, iPhone chargers generally come equipped with cell phone cables and a 5-watt charger. There is a better option though. With a 12-watt charger, you can power up your phone in half the time. With 12 watts, the iPhone 6 will take an average of one hour and fifty minutes to charge the battery, while an iPhone 6 Plus takes two-and-a-half hours.

Are Lightning cables backwards-compatible with my old device?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. You can still use a Lightning cable with an older Apple product that used the 30-pin dock, but you’ll need to purchase an adapter to connect the two. Since the average lifespan of a smartphone is only two years, though, you’ll likely need a device upgrade sooner than later anyway. Adapters are also available for other connectors like USB cables and other peripherals.

How much do Lightning cables cost?
Purchasing cables through Apple directly can cost you anywhere from $19 to $29. However, you can buy cables in bulk from wholesale retailers for a fraction of that price. That way you can keep your devices charged no matter where you go: at home, at the office, in your car or while you travel.

Ultimately, the switch in hardware from the 30-pin dock to the Lightning connector’s simplified 8-pin dock was a smart move. The new cables are now standardized across devices from the iPhone to the iPad Air and everything in between. Stock up on Lightning cables for all of your devices and accessories so you’ll never be left without a charge again.

Top 4 Cable Care Tips for a Long Cable Life

Quality cables are a smart investment for any computer user, but to get the most out of your money, you need to treat your cables right. Improper handling of cables can quickly cause damage or decrease efficiency, which might force you to buy more cables.

Your cables can actually last a lifetime if you know how to treat them right. Follow these easy care tips to get the most use and function out of your cables.

1. Be Gentle.
Be careful not to twist your cables too tightly, and don’t ever bend them at sharp angles. Rough handling could lead to breaks or frays, which in turn presents a serious fire hazard. In 2008, there were around 53,600 home fires as a result of electrical failures or malfunctions. These resulted in 500 deaths, 1,400 injuries and $1.4 billion in property damage. Something as small as frayed cell phone cables can lead to much more serious issues than simply having to buy replacements.

2. Stay Organized.
Many of us have a whole mess of cables running around our desktop workspace, from USB cables to Cat5 cables. Keeping your wires organized and untangled will help prevent unnecessary wear and tear from tugging around. The simple force of gravity on hanging cables can also cause them to stretch out. Cat5 cables made out of quality material should last five to ten years, but a messy desk space might slowly impact their usability.

3. Know Your Limits.
In general, the length of a cable shouldn’t affect the quality of audio or video transfer. However, there are limitations to this rule. If you need an HDMI high-speed cable to run 100 feet or more, you should purchase a 100 ft HDMI cable specially designed for that purpose.

4. Get Reinforcements.
If you want your cables to really last, consider buying reinforced cables, or adding reinforcement over existing cables yourself with some materials around the house. Shrink tubing or pen springs, for instance, can add extra stability to your cable body, preventing it from bending, twisting, breaking or fraying.

Cable maintenance is easy. Treat your cables like you would any other part of your technology system — with care and grace — and they will serve you for as long as you keep them.

Microsoft and Facebook Launch New Plan for Transatlantic Fiber Optic Cables

Microsoft and Facebook will be teaming up to construct a new Transatlantic cable system stretching some 6,600 kilometers from Virginia Beach to Bilbao, Spain, according to WIRED.

The fiber optic cables will help speed the transfer of data from the U.S. to other parts of the world. There are already current undersea cables in existence from the likes of Google and other telecommunications industries. However, Facebook and Microsoft are purposely looking to streamline the transfer of large amounts of data directly from their operations in northern Virginia and North Carolina, rather than having to go through hubs in New York City first. The other end location in Spain will also help facilitate the spread of information to Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the rest of Europe.

“If you look at the cable systems across the Atlantic, a majority land in the Northeast somewhere,” explained Najam Ahmad, Facebook’s Vice President of Network Engineering. “This gives us so many more options.”

The proposed fiber optic cables promise up to 160 terabits per second of bandwidth. That’s 16 million times more than the average home connection, which usually only gets measured in megabits. Every terabit, by contrast, is equal to 1 trillion bytes.

For home and office connections, the length of a cable doesn’t usually have any bearing on video or audio quality. Although, if you’re looking to stretch high-speed HDMI cables over great lengths, it’s usually recommended you invest in a 100ft HDMI cable equipped for the job.

Transatlantic data communication is something entirely different, though. Microsoft and Facebook are reportedly working with “dark fiber,” that is, unused terrestrial cables, to retain better control over data transfers.

“We’re starting to see more of the large Internet content providers looking to build more of their own networks — whether they are leasing dark fiber or laying down new cables to build new routes,” said Michael Murphy, president and CEO of telecom consultant firm NEF. “It makes sense.”

Fiber optic cables have been traversing the Atlantic ocean since the 1850s, though early attempts lasted only a couple of weeks — far less than the five-to-10 year lifespan of even quality cat5 cables today! But current, more-lasting technologies have impacted the way modern Internet companies can conduct their business.

“You’re stuck with whatever system was built initially,” Ahmad said. “And if there has to be an upgrade, all the partners in the consortium have to agree to that upgrade. A new line built just for Facebook and Microsoft “gives us more control of our own destiny,” Ahmad said.

How the Medical Industry Uses Cabling for Better Health Care

Information and data are at the heart of medical advancement. Around the world, state-of-the-art medical centers, research facilities and doctors depend on the ability to share and distribute information to one another as they treat serious diseases and illnesses that face modern society. To do that, they need the best technologies available. Whether it’s developing the world’s latest life-saving vaccine, screening for early cancer detection with an MRI scan, or simply maintaining timely and accurate records for each and every one of their patients, a hospital’s connectivity and services are only as good as its cabling network system. There are many ways Ethernet and fiber optic cables benefit the health industry and medical community every day. Here a just a few of the most important.

High Speed Data Transfer
Time is of the essence when it comes to health care. For the best performance, most medical technologies recommend the use of cat6a cables, which is the fastest Ethernet cable currently available that is recognized by the TIA/EIA. These cables are capable of speeds up to 10/100/1000Mbps with a maximum frequency of 500MHz.

Varied Applications
You’ll be likely to find fiber optic cables and advanced network Ethernet cables in every arena of the medical world, from the record-keeping office to the operating room. Medical facilities require tons of data transfer, which today can be measured in speeds of megabits — or millions of bits — per second.

Bigger Data Size
Medical procedures like x-rays and radiology imaging take up lots of file space when processed and stored digitally, so hospitals and labs need more connectivity than ever. New cat6 cables with a high bandwidth have the ability to transfer within seconds what would have taken older models minutes or hours.

Reliability
Because hospitals are operating around the clock, there is a high demand for reliable and dependable cabling. High-quality Cat5 cables can last five to ten years without a need for replacement. Even bulk fiber optic cables used for health care and medical industry purposes must be subjected to a high degree of quality standards to ensure their efficiency and suitability for hospital or operation room settings.

As both cabling and medical technologies advance, so too will our health. The partnership between the realms of information and medicine will continue to inspire new ideas, new solutions and a better tomorrow.

VARIETIES OF FIBER OPTIC CABLE

Fiber optics. You’ve probably heard the term on a television commercial or in relation to a broadcast/communications carrier in some capacity, but did you know there are actually different varieties and specifications of fiber optic cables?

For example, standard commercial uses of fiber optic cables can transmit 10 to 80 Gigabits per second over just one channel. The current record for transmission speed is 15.5 Terabits per second over a distance of 7,000km, according to reports. For a clearer perspective, that’s the equivalent of 10.3 million DSL connections.

Another version of fiber optic cabling is known as Ethernet fiber converters. Copper-based Ethernet cables, such as CAT5E and CAT6, only have a maximum distance of 328 feet, but with an Ethernet fiber
converter, they have the potential of up to 1.2 miles.

Most fiber optic cables use two fibers, but there are also Single Mode cables. Single Mode cables contain a single strand of glass fiber with a diameter of 8.3 to 10 microns and have one mode of transmission. Single Mode Fiber have a relatively narrow diameter, through which only one mode will propagate typically 1310 or 1550nm.

Single Mode fiber is typically used in applications where data is sent at multi-frequency, such as WDM (Wave-Division-Multiplexing), so that only one cable is required. Single Mode is a bit more expensive, but it also transmits data faster and up to 50 times farther than Multi-mode.

That being said, Multi-mode fiber does have its uses. Multi-mode cables have a bigger diameter, which is usually in the 50 to 100 micron range for the light carry component (in the U.S. the most common size is 62.5um). Multi-mode fiber gives you high bandwidth at high speeds (10 to 100MBS – Gigabit to 275m to 2km) over medium distances. Two fibers are typically used in applications where Multi-mode fiber is used.

How to Build Custom Ethernet Cables

What do you do when you need three short network Ethernet cables and you only have one laying around? How do you decide when you can buy cat 6 cables bulk for the price of a few small Cat5e cables? What can you do to get the most out of your materials and your Internet?

The answer is that you can easily cut and customize Ethernet cables to suit all of your around-the-house needs. Whether you just need a short clip to set up a router or you’re wiring your dream gaming station, cables are easy to measure and make yourself with the right tools.

All you’ll need:

  • Wire cutters/strippers/crimpers
  • RJ45 plugs — as many as you need
  • Network cable — you can cut a preexisting cable into smaller pieces, or get up to a 1000 ft Ethernet cable in bulk

First, simply measure the cable a few inches longer than you need it to be (to allow room to attach the data plugs) and cut.

Then, strip an inch of coating off either end of the cable and unravel the exposed wiring.

Order the wires by color. From top to bottom: orange/white, orange, green/white, blue, blue/white, green, brown/white, brown.

Trim the wires to length and arrange them into the RJ45 plugs.

Crimp everything into place and you’re good to go!

Building your own Ethernet cables is a great way to have a little fun with wiring and save some money, too. Quality-built Cat5 cables will easily last five to ten years, and RJ45 plugs can be inserted and unplugged 1,000 to 2,000 times before ever falling loose.

The speed of your connection, however, is all going to depend on the type of cable you choose from the start. A Cat5e Ethernet cable has a 100MHz frequency capacity and speeds of 10/100/1000Mbps, while a 6 or 6a can offer significantly more for only slightly more money. If you’re going to cut your own cables anyway, buying Cat6 cables bulk is a great way to ensure top speed and quality throughout all of your network setups. With only a few tools and the proper know-how, you can get everything you need for all of your Ethernet needs.

Myths and Facts about Cell Phone Accessories

Are your USB cables and chargers posing a fire hazard to your home? Is your cell phone covered in germs? Is your mobile device putting you at risk for radiation exposure?

Every day, it seems like there’s some new health or safety concern we should be worried about with our cell phones and electronic devices. The Internet loves spreading rumors, especially when it comes to the things we hold so near and dear like our cell phone accessories. While you should always keep safety in mind when it comes to electronic devices, it’s time to suss out the myths from the facts. Learn which stories are true and which ones might just be pure fabrication.

Rumor: Charger cables are a dangerous fire hazard.
Verdict: True. In 2008, there were a reported 500 deaths and 1,400 injuries as a result of electrical fires. Damaged or frayed cables caused 53,600 home fires and as much as $1.4 billion in property damage. Be sure to frequently inspect cell phone cables for wear and tear and always use a power strip surge protector for plugging in multiple devices. Accidents can be avoided with a little common sense.

Rumor: Your cell phone is dirtier than a toilet seat.
Verdict: True. With 25,000 germs on every square inch of surface, your cell phone is likely dirtier than a toilet seat, the bottom of your shoe, or your pet’s food dish. You can clean your cell phone and cell phone accessories every once in a while with a simple alcohol antiseptic wipe found in any drugstore — no fancy gadgets required. And with that many germs, you really might want to pick one up on your way home.

Rumor: Cell phone radiation causes brain cancer.
Verdict: Probably false. A recent study from the University of Sydney, Australia, found no correlation between the rate of brain cancer and the prevalence of cell phones over the past 30 years. While your smartphone might only have a lifespan of two years, it’s not likely to shorten your own.

As something we all use every day, our cell phones are practically an extension of our bodies. That means taking good care of your devices and cables is worthwhile. Like any electronic tool or device, be sure to play safe with all your cell phone accessories.

Don’t Be Fooled By These 5 Myths About iPhone Chargers

We hear a lot of things about the dangers of cell phones and cell phone accessories from people who don’t know much about electronics and technology. But what bits of advice are actually valid? Bulk USB cables, lightning cables, general cell phone cables — how much do you really know about tech safety and maintenance?

5 Myths About iPhone Charging

  • Using a Non-Apple Charger is Dangerous. They say that charging your iPhone with non-Apple brand cell phone cables can damage your device. This is only half true. If your charger is from a trusted company and is labeled “Made for iPhone/iPad,” then you are totally safe. Just avoid using cheap knockoff cables and chargers as oftentimes they are less expensive due to a lack of safety mechanisms in the internal circuitry. It is because of products like these that you hear about iPhone batteries exploding and phones spontaneously combusting.
  • Do Not Use Your Phone While Charging Do Not Use Your Phone While Charging This myth came from one isolated incident in which an iPhone user’s device exploded. The truth is that the user was using a knockoff charger, which caused the damage to the phone. The act of charging and using a phone at the same time is not inherently dangerous.
  • Do Not Charge Your Phone Overnight. Many of us keep our phones plugged in over night in order to wake up to a fully charged device. This does not damage the phone. Your smartphone is, in fact, smart enough to stop taking in energy from the power source once it is fully charged. Your phone can remain plugged in even when it is no longer receiving a charge.
  • You Can’t Use an iPad Charger on an iPhone. Actually, you can charge an iPhone 6 in half the time when you use a 12-watt iPad charger as opposed to the five-watt charger that comes with your phone.
  • You Never Need to Turn Off Your iPhone. This actually is not true. Most of us never turn off our phones, and while this isn’t the worst thing in the world, it isn’t helping your phone’s battery at all. According to Apple Geniuses, turning off your phone from time to time can help to improve battery life.
  • Damaged and frayed cables can pose a fire hazard. In fact, as many as 53,600 home fires were started in 2008 as a result of electrical failures or malfunctions. That is why cable maintenance is so important. Smartphones generally have a lifespan of about two years, but this can be cut short by failing to take proper care of your cell phone cables.