Thursday, January 17, 2013

Mailbox: The killer e-mail app for iPhone?

Here's a simple truth: Most everyone who has a smartphone uses it to read and send e-mail messages. But nobody seems to like their mobile e-mail applications. Tech company Orchestra, though, hopes to change this. The company just recently published Mailbox, its new e-mail client for your iPhone. The iphone app has been receiving rave reviews.


So why has the tech press weighed in so positively on the iPhone version of Mailbox? Probably because it operates like it was designed to be used with smart phones. Numerous other mobile e-mail programs feel like they're simply rehashes of e-mail software applications that work better on desktop or computers. Here's the big difference: With Mailbox, users save, delete or archive messages by swiping, just like they do most anything else using their smart phones or tablet computers. For example: If you swipe an e-mail message to the left, you'll save it. Should you instead swipe to the right, you'll archive it. And when you swipe to the right while holding at the same time, you'll delete an e-mail message. Swipe to the left while holding? A List screen will show up. Using this new screen, you can either label messages or move them to new locations. Put simply, using Mailbox is intuitive.


Another challenge with most mobile e-mail programs is that messages when they open are just too large. There is too much information displayed for the size of the smart phone screen. Mailbox for iPhone, though, avoids this error. When originally showing messages, Mailbox only displays the main parts. Signatures, for instances, are not visible, removing much of the clutter associated with standard mobile e-mail programs. Once you tap an e-mail message, though, it's going to open into an expanded state, showing such information as signatures and the "To" and "From" fields. Positive reviews have remarked that sending an e-mail message from Mailbox for your iPhone feels more like Tweeting. This is excellent for today's smart phone users. Finally, Mailbox earns kudos for the texting feel of its app. Users don't see traditional e-mail messages every time they open messages. Instead, their screens display smaller chat bubbles. Again, this can be a nice feature for mobile users who are more comfortable with texting.

To Do

Mailbox for iPhone also acts as a handy to-do list for replying to e-mail messages. For example, when you read a message, it is easy to assign it a priority. You could choose to have the message reappear in the e-mail inbox, for action, two days later. If the message carries a lower priority, you could request for it to appear again in a month. This supplies users with a simple way to gain some control over their incoming e-mail messages. For anyone who is aggravated by your present mobile e-mail program, it is the perfect time to explore the iPhone version of Mailbox. You just might find that it's the perfect e-mail app on your favorite smart phone.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Need a tablet? Think small

Looking for that perfect tablet? You have an abundance of options today, from the classic iPad to the upstart Galaxy tablets. But which device is really the best to buy? Which gives you top effectiveness at a reasonable price? And, this being tablets we're talking about, which best fits in your purse or book bag? One Web site has a interesting answer: the iPad Mini.

The Benefits of the Mini

The editors at WireCutter selected the Mini for one simple reason: It weighs significantly less than its larger cousin, the traditional iPad. But though it weighs less, the iPad Mini is just as powerful as its larger cousin. This, the editors contend, is all important in terms of judging a tablet. The main benefit of a tablet, naturally, is that it is smaller than a notebook. Consumers can more easily tote it with them on the train, to the gym or to the local diner. A tablet that is easy to carry, then, should really rank near the top of the tablet world. If that very same tablet is equally as powerful as much larger versions? Then that tablet wins recognition as the best on the market, based upon WireCutter.


The editors at WireCutter ran the iPad Mini through a group of tests to figure out just how well it works. What did they learn? That it performs equally as well as any tablet already out there. For instance, even though the Mini has a smaller screen, watching movies with the device is just as impressive as enjoying them on the larger iPad. This holds true for reading books, scanning the Internet and playing games. The bottomline is, the iPad Mini's smaller size is under no circumstances a hindrance to experiencing the tablet.

The right recommendation?

The WireCutter recommendation, though, mustn't be taken as being the last word on the subject. The advice reflects the viewpoint of that Web site's staff. Your thoughts and opinions might vary. Fortunately, you've got plenty of tablets to select from. And after you do your own research, you might find you prefer the Kindle Fire, the Nook Tablet or perhaps the traditional iPad to the Mini. The WireCutter review, however, is a compelling bit of evidence the Mini is no mere novelty act. It's a legitimate contender in the increasingly jampacked tablet world.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

What do you really know about the Internet

Business Insider recently ran an interesting look at the way the Internet works. It's a fascinating article because so many of us are dependent upon the internet in such a short period of time. Most people don't really know how this massive communications and information tool really works. Business Insider, though, revealed several interesting facts about what actually takes place online. As stated by the story, 27 percent of U.S. consumers use their mobile phones and the mobile Internet to shop. Seven percent of U.S. consumers have obtained items from online auctions. U.S. residents aren’t shy about banking on the internet, either. According to Business Insider, 33 percent of U.S. residents use their mobile phones and Internet for mobile banking. Here's a few more of the most intriguing:

Facebook is King

First, take a more detailed look at Facebook. You know it is an extremely useful site for keeping up with your friends and relatives. But did you know, too, that Facebook is the dominant player in regards to online traffic? As stated by the Business Insider story, and data from Hitwise, Facebook accounts for about one in every five Internet page views. That's impressive. So is the number of members that Facebook reached recently: As per Business Insider, the social media site now boasts more than 1 billion users.

The Biggest Data Center is Rising in Utah

Business Insider also noted that the biggest data center in the world is now being built in Utah. The National Security Agency is behind this center, and when the data center is complete, it will store a yottabyte of data. You might not know just what a yottabyte is. But it is huge. It equals 1,000 zettabytes or 1 million exabytes, as reported by Business Insider.

Streaming is on the Rise

If you stream movies and TV shows using Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus, you're definately not alone. According to Business Insider, in excess of 50 % of U.S. resident watch TV on the internet. That is rather amazing considering how relatively new streaming is. The Business Insider story mentioned that residents below the age of 35 have grown particularly fond of using the Internet to deliver their favorite TV shows and movies on their tablets and smart phones.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Build a standing desk to boost your health

If you work inside an office, you may unknowingly be in for health difficulties. According to a recent story by NPR, individuals who spend too much time sitting during the week face a much greater potential for heart related illnesses than do individuals who are more physically active. The NPR story quoted a researcher from South Carolina University who discovered that men that sat more than 23 hours per week were 64 percent more likely to die from heart disease than were those who sat fewer than 11 hours in an average week.

The Good News

Want to prevent potentially terminal heart issues? Why not make your own standing desk? A standing desk is just what it sounds like, a desk at which you stand instead of sit. If you are using a standing desk as your main desk, you will end up eliminating a great deal of those idle hours of sitting. And the best news? You may build your own standing desk with little effort and few bucks. The editors at Website Lifehacker provided an easy recipe for building a simple, effective standing desk. Here's the short version of it.

The Easy Way

If you only want a simple desk, Lifehacker suggests making a standing desk that utilizes Ikea's Utby legs. Though this desk is going to be smaller, it will be possible to fit your laptop, monitor and keyboard easily enough on it. You ought to have space, too, for a lamp and storage. To create this desk, purchase a Vika Amon Top, Utby under frame, Ekby Jarpen shelf and one set of Capita legs. You will find all these parts at Ikea for the total of about $140. Best of all? Based on the Lifehacker story, you can put this desk together with just a screwdriver.

A Bit More Complicated

You don't need to be satisfied with a homemade standing desk having a narrow top. You can easily step up to one using a wider top. And you can get it done while still confining your desk-part shopping to your nearest Ikea. First, as Lifehacker recommends, find two packages of Capita brackets, one Lack shelf, one Vika Amon tabletop and five Vika Byske legs at your Ikea. Then grab your power drill and get busy. Lifehacker ranks this desk as a "medium" one to build, so it ought not to be overly tricky to set up.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Use these three tips to boost your Excel power

Excel is a must-have software program, whether you're using your laptop at home or the desktop in your office. With Excel, you are able to quickly determine whether you're pulling in enough income to pay for your mortgage bill this month. You can instantly determine which of the company's sales reps are or aren't boosting the results. You can calculate which of one's fantasy football team's running backs and wide receivers are getting you the most fantasy points. Nevertheless, many users aren't using Excel to the full capability. Avoid being one too. Read the three tips below to make Excel work better .

Adding non-contiguous values

You know that Excel's AutoSum option is an incredible tool, allowing you to add rows of numbers together fast. However, were you aware that you can use AutoSum to add values that are not contiguous, or adjacent, to each other? The TechRebpublic blog recently explored how to make this happen. As the Web site says, if you want to add the sales numbers of two sales guys -- whose sales numbers aren't listed next to each other -- simply choose one sales person's column of numbers then hold down your computer's "Control" key to pick a second column. Then you can use AutoSum to calculate the sales numbers of these two sales guys.

Preventing bad data entry

What's more frustrating than when your employees enter the wrong kind of data -- say words in place of numbers or numbers with decimal points instead of whole numbers -- in their spreadsheets? Who knows? But the good news is the fact that Excel incorporates a function that can stop this incorrect data entry. As PC Magazine wrote in a recent online story, the Excel feature that is able to stop these problems is termed Data Validation. Basically, the feature will allow you to set the boundaries about what kind of data -- say, text and not numbers -- your spreadsheet will accept. To reach Data Validation, select the "Table Tools" tab. Next, click "Data Validation." You will be now allowed to enter exactly what form of data your employees should enter in your spreadsheet. For example, you can tell Excel to permit only whole numbers and not numbers with decimal points.

Don't let unsaved files ruin your day

You're in the middle of developing a long Excel file when your computer suddenly shuts down. That's a great deal of effort now wasted, right? Actually, no. Excel now comes with a function that allows you to easily recover these "lost" documents. Here's the trick: First, select the "File" tab within your Excel program. Next, select the "Recover Unsaved Documents" option. You can now simply click on the document once it shows up on your screen. On top of that, here's another amazing fact: This will work even for those Excel files which you never even gave a name before you lost them.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Reflecting on 2012's big tech stories; predicting 2013's

Technology is advancing rapidly. So it will be little surprise that 2012 will go down as a year that saw technology firm up its hold on the imagination with the U.S. public. Everything from the way the election was covered to the way consumers tackled their holiday shopping was influenced by technology this year. And next year? That appears to be yet another big year in technology.Here's a look back at the tech trends of this past year and look toward what might be the important tech stories of 2013.

Obama's grip on election tech

Pres. Obama relied heavily on social media to spread his information and reach his core group of younger voters during his historic 2008 presidential victory. This Year, technology again proved to be a formidable ally to Pres. Obama. This time around, Obama was aided by a sophisticated "get-out-the-vote" program dubbed Narwhal. This communications system allowed campaign staffers to frequently contact key voters in equally key states. The end result? Obama's core of voters -- whom many pundits predicted would largely stay home this year -- again flocked to the polls. Obama's commanding leads among African-American, Hispanic and young voters helped push him with an easy Electoral College victory. Romney tried his own communication technology, a program referred to as Project Orca. While Narwhal succeeded, Orca failed, rather terribly. The program even crashed for a important chunk of time on election day. No one would debate that technology was the main reason why Obama defeated Romney. But Obama's superior grasp of technology certainly played a role in his election victory. You can bet that future presidential candidates will arm themselves with the maximum amount of technology as possible in coming presidential elections.

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Technology is evolving how the U . S . battles terrorists. Unmanned Predator drones made news headlines in 2012, especially because their deadly strikes claimed a number of the United State's most-wanted terrorists. The drones, obviously, were never without critics. Some worried they would be employed to spy on law-abiding citizens. Others worried that drone strikes routinely kill civilians along with terrorists or other military objectives. What's not up for debate, though, is that unmanned drones will continue to be a significant weapon in the United States' war on terror. As drone technology grows, their accuracy and effectiveness stand to increase.

The coming year

What can shoppers anticipate seeing tech-wise in the coming year? More. That's more consumers embracing mobile computing, turning off their desktop PCs and browsing the web, sending e-mail messages, texting, reading books, watching movies and enjoying music on tablets and powerful smart phones. More also means that consumers will continue to open their wallets for the latest technology. Tablets and smart phones were sizzling sellers during the recently concluded holiday shopping season. Count on seeing a lot more of these mobile devices under Christmas trees next season. And lastly, more means that technology will spread to a growing number of emerging countries. Expect developing countries to flock to social media, laptops and mobile devices simply because these technologies gradually become open to them. People like technology, regardless of where they live.