Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Wireless speakers are a great fit for phones

By Ron Harris, Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Diminutive wireless speakers are filling the shelves at electronics stores. They're proving to be the ideal accessory for people who listen to the bulk of their music on mobile phones.

Because the smartphone is now such a ubiquitous entertainment device, there's no reason it can't also be a solid stereo around the house and on the road when paired with the right speakers.

All of the speakers I tested connect to your device wirelessly through Bluetooth. They also have a traditional stereo input jack, so you can plug in iPods and other music players without Bluetooth capability.

I looked at some of the latest wireless offerings that provide the most boom for your buck. I used a Motorola Droid X2, running Google's Android operating software. These options work with Apple's iPhone and iPad, too.

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Frequent changes are "Facebook's mode of operation"

fb.jpgThey did it again: In yet another change that upset users, Facebook Inc. has replaced the email addresses that users display on their profile pages with @facebook.com addresses.Users who are bothered by the change can reset their profiles. Facebook didn't delete the previously displayed addresses, it just changed which one users can see.Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst at research firm eMarketer, says the move is "emblematic of Facebook's mode of operation. Take action and apologize later."   By The Associated Press

Change for the better: According to the New York Times, Facebook has rebuilt its iOS application to speed it up, and the changes are coming this summer.


 

 

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Apps help men with fashion and hairstyle tips

coolguy.jpgGuys, if you want some help looking well-groomed and fashionable, there are apps for that. From hair- and beardstyles to clothing combinations, these apps can guide you. Need to tie a bow tie? You can get some instructions for that, too.

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Google unveils Nexus 7 tablet, Nexus Q home entertainment device, and Jelly Bean

googletablet.jpgBy Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer

SAN FRANCISCO — Google will sell a small tablet computer bearing its brand in a challenge to Amazon's Kindle Fire.

The Nexus 7 is designed specifically for Google Play, the online store that sells movies, music, books, apps and other content — the things Amazon.com Inc. also sells for its tablet computer.

Both tablets have screens that measure 7 inches diagonally, smaller than the nearly 10 inches on Apple Inc.'s popular iPad. The Nexus 7 will also be light — at about 0.75 pound, compared with the Kindle Fire's 0.9 pound. The iPad weighs 1.44 pounds.

The Nexus 7 will ship in mid-July starting at $199 — the same price as the Kindle Fire. By contrast, iPads start at $499. Customers can start ordering it through Google, initially in the U.S., Canada and Australia.

The Nexus 7 has more features than the Kindle, including a front-facing camera. The Kindle is believed to be roughly break even at that price. Samsung Electronics Co. sells a tablet similar to Google's for $250.

The Nexus 7 will run the next version of Google Inc.'s Android operating system, called Jelly Bean. …

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Roundup: Gadgets for freshmen, yard sale app, something for tennis and NASCAR fans

Gadgets for freshmen: With so many assignments and study materials online, laptops have become a necessary gadget for college students. But what's best: Mac or PC? Or is a tablet sufficient? Next Gen Journal

Yard sale from your phone: Try this -- Yardsale App -- when you're planning a yard sale. You can sell and buy things in your community and helps you meet your neighbors too. Listing is easy, and you can cross-post your item on Craigslist, too. Wired

Apps for Wimbledon fans: Wimbledon 2012 is under way, and the competition is getting more intense. Here are five apps you can use to follow the tournament from your mobile phone. Yahoo Sports

Gadget for race fans and teams: Fanvision has teamed up with NASCAR to provide a handheld devices for a more customized way to follow a race, including lap times, stats, leaderboard, and even order food and concessions from their seats. ESPN

Fastest networks: PCMag tested out 3G and 4G mobile networks in 30 cities. Unfortunately, the Tampa Bay area wasn't one of them, but it's still interesting to see. 

 

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Windows Phone 8 has lots of ups, but leaves WP7-device owners stuck

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Microsoft recently announced the new Windows Phone 8, its new operating system for mobile phones, and reviewers are out in full force dissecting and analyzing it. Here's a glimpse of what they're saying:

The platforms looks to be signficantly improved from Windows Phone 7. Here are 10 reasons why the new Windows Phone 8 is impressive by eWeek.com.

One drawback, however, is that there's no upgrade path, meaning those who have a Windows Phone 7 is stuck. Microsoft has promised a Windows Phone 7.8 to try to satisfy those who can't upgrade. MSN offers a look at some of the features.

Washington Post also took a stab, noting that speech integration, digital wallet and more games are on the way. Gizmodo says the customizable start screen is the best yet.

So who's going to be making WP8 handsets? Microsoft named four makers who will have WP 8 phones ready for launch later this year: Nokia, HTC, Huawei, and Samsung. And Qualcomm will supply the Snapdragon S4 Plus processors.

What will this mean for businesses? Information Week noted five features aimed at enterprises, including better security, company hub and more.

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Roundup: Body movement to power gadgets, taking control of apps, more

walk.jpgHuman-powered: British scientists have developed a way to convert body movement into electricity capable of powering small gadgets, called energy harvesters.

App for foodies: If you travel frequently and want to find some of the best restaurants to visit, check out the Chef's Feed app. Browse through profiles of award-winning chefs, their dishes, map the restaurant and more.

Avoiding the app chaos: Sam Grobart of the New York Times has developed a method to the madness of managing apps. If you're inundated with pages and pages of icons, check out his organization tips.

Green and gorgeous: Eco-friendly shouldn’t have to be ugly. PC & Tech Authority picked out some gadgets that are easy on the eye as well as the environment.

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The Daily Drivers: Chevy Malibu Eco friendly at the pump

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Chevrolet has finally accomplished what it set out to the do the last time it redesigned the Malibu, giving it a bold-enough look to be noticed in the car market's most competitive segment: the midsize sedan. First up for 2013 and the Malibu line is the mild-hybrid Eco, with other models to follow soon.

 
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Verizon Wireless offers new Share Everything plans

verizon-wireless-logo.jpgVerizon Wireless has announced it's new Share Everything Plans that includes unlimited talking minutes, unlimited messaging, and A data allowance for up to Verizon 10 devices. The Mobile Hotspot service is also included at not extra charge. The new plan will launch on June 28 and is available to new and existing users.
 

To get started on a Share Everything Plan, customers first select the devices they want on their accounts. The next step is to choose a plan that includes unlimited minutes, unlimited messages and a shared data allowance that begins at 1 GB for $50.

 

If you want to keep your current plan, no problem. But if you want to switch to a Share Everything plan, you don't have to pay any fees or get a contract extension.

 

Meanwhile, Verizon Wireless says the unlimited data plan won't be eliminated immediately. Instead, that plan will no longer be available to those getting a new discounted phone. If you're set on keeping the unlimited data plan, you can buy a new phone at full, unsubsidized price. …

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Highlights from Apple's developer's conference

bl_macbookpro.jpgApple announced a few new products and upgrades at the Worldwide Developers Conference Monday in San Francisco, including the new MacBook Pro with high- definition screens, as well as features for the software that powers its iPhone and iPad. Here's a look at some highlights:

Facebook integration: Apple is building the social network into its iPhone and iPad software. Users will be able to update their Facebook status by talking to their phones and "like" movies and apps in the iTunes store.

Siri:Apple's voice-command application will add new languages. It will be able to launch applications and movies, and will run on the new iPads. You can Tweet by talking with "Eyes Free" while you're driving. Some car manufacturers will place a button on the steering wheel to bring up Siri.

iOS6: Apple says the new software, iOS 6, will launch this fall. It updates the software annually, usually coinciding with the release of a new iPhone.

Maps: No more Google Maps. IOS 6 will use Apple's own Maps applications, which will include real-time traffic reports, turn-by-turn navigation, and "Flyover" aerial images. …

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If you like classics, you can stream 500 movies for free

fist.jpgFrom Hitchcock to John Wayne westerns, if you like classic movies, you're lin luck. Gizmodo says you can enjoy them for free by streaming these full-length features on sites including YouTube, the Internet Archive, Crackle, and Veoh. 

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Give something special to Dads and grads

 

Father’s Day is next Sunday, and graduating students are collecting their diplomas. How to celebrate? Here are some gift ideas.

No more excuses

fitdesk.jpgDoes Dad say he’s too busy to exercise? (Or is he just playing solitaire on his computer?) Is your grad expecting hours writing a research paper? Help them stay active while they work with the FitDesk. This stationary exercise bike with a comfortable saddle seat lets you mount a laptop to use while pedaling, so Dad can multitask to better health. The belt-driven bike has a digital resistance meter built in. The rider can be 4 feet 10 to 6 feet 2, up to 220 pounds. It’s lightweight (33 pounds) and stores away easily by folding into an upright position. $249.99. fitdesk.net

 

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If you have a LinkedIn account, change your password

Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Business social network LinkedIn said Wednesday that some of its users' passwords have been stolen and leaked onto the Internet.

LinkedIn Corp. did not say how many of the more than six million passwords that were distributed online corresponded to LinkedIn accounts. In a blog post Wednesday, the company said it was continuing to investigate.

Graham Cluley, a consultant with U.K. Web security company Sophos, recommended that LinkedIn users change their passwords immediately.

LinkedIn has a lot of information on its more than 160 million members, including potentially confidential information related to jobs being sought. Companies, recruiting services and others have accounts alongside individuals who post resumes and other professional information.

There's added concern that many people use the same password on multiple websites, so whoever stole the data could use the information to access Gmail, Amazon, PayPal and other accounts, Cluley said.

Before confirming the breach, LinkedIn issued security tips as a precautionary measure. The company said users should change passwords at least every few months and avoid using the same ones on multiple sites. …

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The Daily Drivers car review: The 2012 Nissan Quest — it's back and it's better

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Nissan tried to radically restyle its people mover once before — in 2004 when it relocated the Quest's driver's-side gauges and housed the controls in a center pod. That experiment didn't last long, and the van didn't sell well, ending its run after 2009. Fast-forward to 2012 and the new van, which has make-no-apologies (boxy) styling.

 

 

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E3: Gameplay footage from 'Resident Evil 6'

 Because we all want real zombies to shoot.

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