Koush Brings us Root Free Tethering

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Koush, you have improved the lives of android users once again.

In case you don’t know, Koush is the creator of ClockworkMod, the custom recovery that is used by rooters worldwide.

Koush has now brought us a root free USB tethering solution, for all of you who are either having problems with rooting (like if you have a rooted Galaxy Nexus and you updated to 4.0.4 OTA and your root is gone and no matter what you do you can’t get it back, *cough* *cough*) or if you don’t want to root your phone out of fear of destroying it.

It’s an extremely simple application. On your phone, you download the app for free from the android market Google Play. The free app is a 14 day trial, but you can buy the full version as an in-app purchase for $4.99 (worth it!).

Once you’ve downloaded the app on your phone, you just need to get the drivers for your computer. Now, you’re probably going to be downloading this app because at the time you don’t have internet, and Koush has thought of that as well. In the android app, you can download the app files onto your phone then transfer them onto your computer for installation. Genius!

The small connection application is available for Mac, Windows, and even Linux. Ubuntu users rejoice!

Once you’ve installed the driver, you’re ready to go. Tap the USB icon on your phone, click start on your computer, and in a few seconds, your computer will be connected to the internet through your phone’s network. Easy as that!

If this comes in handy for you, I highly recommend that you buy the app. Koush has created some amazing things for android, and without him flashing ROMs would be nearly impossible.

Thank you Koush for all of your contributions to Android!

Click here to download the app for Android.

Apple Says Things at WWDC

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So Apple had some fun at the WWDC Keynote this year.

Siri did stand-up comedy to open.

No really, I’m excited about the new Samsung. Not the phone, the refrigerator.

I must admit, that was pretty funny.

First of all, Apple updated its notebooks. The MacBook Air finally got a speed boost, the MacBook Pro got a speed boost, and the 17″ MacBook Pro bid farewell.

Apple also announced their next generation MagBook Pro, which is almost as thin as an Air, has a retina display, and a new Magsafe Port. Great.

All of these computers have gotten upgrades to USB 3, which is nice for those people who actually have devices that can take advantage of that.

Then, our friend iOS got an update.

Finally, iOS has turn by turn navigation. Siri is available on the new iPad, and has supposedly gotten a bit better. Facebook is now integrated as much as twitter. FaceTime is available on cellular networks. Photo streams can be shared. A new app called Passbook allows you to store tickets for planes, movies, and stores. There’s also a few other things that aren’t worth mentioning.

Mac OS X Mountain Lion didn’t get anything new from what we knew already, except thatdictation will be available in any text field. For many people, this will definitely come in handy.

Some people were unhappy with the absence of an iPhone 5. But I think we should be content with iOS 6, and expect the new iPhone this fall – along with the public release of iOS 6.

I’ve been playing around with iOS 6, and so far it works well. Siri works just as expected, and the Facebook and twitter integration is also very handy.

The MacBooks that were updated are available now, but iOS will be available in fall. Mountain Lion will be available this July.

MacBook Pro

Macbook Air

iOS 6

Mountain Lion

Apple Releases New iPad

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Apple has (finally) released the newest iPad. Unlike speculations, the iPad has dropped it’s following number and is simply being referred to as the new iPad.

The new iPad features almost exactly what was speculated: a new, high resolution retina display, and a 5.0 megapixel camera. In addition, the new iPad features 4G LTE, allowing its users to browse at increased speeds.

iLife has also been added to the iPad – GarageBand and iMovie have already been released, and joining them is the iPadular version of iPhoto.

The new iPad also features a new A5X graphics card, which is necessary to power the 3.1 million pixels in its high resolution display.

Other than a few new other software features, the iPad remains the same. It has the same outer shell as the iPad two, and has the same pricing regimen as well.

The new iPad will be available on March 16th, which is a short 9 days from its launch date.

I will get my hands on one then, although I doubt that I will end up owning one – my MacBook air completely gets rid of the need/use of the iPad, as it has an identical form factor with a much larger array of features.

iPad homepage

CES: The Progress of 3D

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One of the biggest things at CES last year was definitely 3D. 3D TVs, 3D tablets, 3D Projectors. But there were a few reasons that I hated them.

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First of all, you had to wear Active 3D glasses. These basically flicker each lens so fast that you can’t see, and it does it in rhythm with the TV. That’s how you could see two different images in each eye, giving you that 3D effect. As you can see, they tended to be a bit ridiculous. They were bulky and giant, needed to be charged, and were extremely expensive to replace. They also darkened the screen you were looking at quite a bit.

The other issue with 3D was that the colors were degraded. The saturation and contrast was reduced, and you give up everything in picture quality just to get that 3D effect. Basically, you were trading the convenience of TV just so you could get two pictures simultaneously.

This year, things have changed.

Exhibit A would be LG. They have created an amazing 3D smart TV that uses passive 3D glasses. These are the same glasses that you wear in a movie theatre, and are just plastic lenses that aren’t electronic at all. In fact, LG had a giant wall of these 3D TVs playing an awesome sequence of 3D footage. They were handing out tons of 3D glasses, because each one costs less than $0.05 to manufacture in China. You can keep it, break it, or lose it, and it won’t be a disaster.

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Another benefit of passive 3D glasses is that you lose the bulk.

19d6bb35 reald glasses

These are very light and thin glasses. In fact, some people even call them stylish – you may see people walking around in these glasses with the 3D plastic lenses popped out.

The nice thing about these new TVs is that you still have that beautiful color contrast and saturation that high-end TVs are known for. The brightness is still a bit reduced, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it was last year.

3D still has a ways to go – the need to wear glasses in general is a bit annoying, and the screens that don’t require 3D glasses (called autostereoscopy) are absolutely awful and disgusting. But the progress is obvious, and it seems like 3D is going from a stupid gimmick that was awfully executed to something that you might actually be able to enjoy in your living room.

Otterbox Defender Series for Galaxy Nexus

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Over my years of reviewing and testing, no other case company has ever been able to  replicate the protective properties of Otterbox’s cases. When I plan on dropping my phone off of a two story building, they’re the only ones with a case I can trust.

That’s why when I got my Galaxy Nexus, I knew that the case I would be getting would be from otterbox. Here’s my scoop.

Design

The case consists of two main parts: an outer silicone skin, and an inner hard plastic shell (with a screen protector built in).

The outer silicone skin has a nice grip and absorbs a majority of the initial shock if you happen to drop the device. It has openings for all ports, so you can attach everything you need without having to ever remove the case. This is a nice feature, although it does add more parts and complexity to the overall design of the case.

The Flaw

The inner shell is the hard layer of protection for the device. It has two parts: a bottom and a top section, which snap around the phone. This is where the only problem with the case is.

A "practically indestructible" case?

The top section is a frame around the screen (with openings for speakers, cameras, lights, etc.) which also has a screen protecter glued in. This means that you need to clean off the screen protector of the case in addition to your phone’s screen and try to get them together before any other dust settles. The only issue with this is that if any dust settles after you’ve snapped it on, good luck getting it off – without breaking it, that is. After my first attempt at putting it together, I noticed a bunch of dust particles under the protector. So I take the case off, but the tiny snaps on the edges that hold the case together aren’t willing to let go. In the end, I need to pry them apart to even get to my phone. This bent the frame a bit. On my second attempt at taking the case off, I tried to use a key in the tiny slots next to the snaps. I ended up cracking the frame, and it still took a good ten minutes for me to get the case off of the device.

Conclusion

Otterbox was always (and most likely will always be) known for it’s super-protective lines of cases. At $50, the materials are not very well-built and are extremely prone to cracking and bending. Although it may protect your device, the case is oddly fragile for its super-hefty title. I can’t say I don’t recommend this case, as the protection it offers is above-par, but I can’t highly recommend it as it is fragile and the plastic materials are prone to breaking and bending.

If you want to pick one up for yourself, click here to be redirected to the Otterbox page.

P.S. Thank you otterbox for sending me this awesome (but fragile) case!

The Galaxy Nexus Problem: Battery Life

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I’ve always been wondering what the big problem with the Galaxy nexus is. It has an amazing dual core processor, a glorious screen, flawless software, and LTE speeds. The camera is less than impressive, but it’s really not that bad.

But now, I’ve found the issue. Battery Life.

The Galaxy Nexus lasts for about 3 hours and 40 minutes. That’s a new record for the shortest battery life of a smartphone. Ouch.

Apparently the issue is actually related to software, where android 4.0 is keeping the CPU from sleeping. While verizon is busy trying to work out those kinks, they’re selling an extended battery for 50% off (not $25 from $50). I’ve ordered one and am awaiting it in the mail.

The only fear of mine is that Verizon releases an OTA (over the air) update for the phone that fixes the issue, then I’m not able to download the update because I’m rooted. This was the case on my Droid Incredible, but from what I’ve read it shouldn’t happen with the Nexus. I’ve also read that I’ll need to re-root, which shouldn’t be a problem.

Of course I’ll keep everybody in the loop about rooting and OTA updates, but until then be careful when buying a Nexus – you should probably get an extended battery as well.

Apple Announces iPhone 4S – Where’s the innovation?

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Look familiar?

Today, Apple announced the iPhone 4S. It’s so simple I can say it in a single sentence.

The iPhone 4S features a better camera, A5 processor, Sprint support, another antenna, and a voice assistant. 

That’s it.

The better camera is 8 megapixels which is capable of recording 1080p video, and the other aspect of the new camera is an additional lens and a wider aperture.

The A5 processor is dual-core and can run things quite a bit faster.

Apple decided that the iPhone needs two antennas to make calls – one to transmit and one to receive. After all, one antenna just doesn’t seem to do quite well on other phones…?

Last but not least there’s Siri. Apple bought this company a while back to create a fancy digital assistant, and my have they succeeded. Siri can understand what you say and create reminders, events, schedule meetings, move meetings, reply to text messages, find restaurants, and more with just your voice. I think it looks pretty cool – but there’s one question that I can’t seem to find the answer to: will it be available on the iPhone 4? If they only have it on the 4S it will really just be a letdown. After all, the iPhone 4′s hardware is definitely capable of handling that kind of processing pressure, and I don’t think Apple should use its software as an incentive to get the hardware.

This leads me to my next point – where’s the innovation?

With the last iOS announcement being the iPad 2, this leaves me wondering what Apple is thinking. The iPhone 4 was completely revolutionary compared to it’s predecessor. The iPad was completely revolutionary compared to it’s predecessor as well (there was no predecessor). But with the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2, I feel like Apple is having a hard time thinking of something revolutionary to release.

 

Apple Board Member Confirms new iPhone in October – That’s plural

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Everyone has been waiting for the new iPhone for quite a while now. But at the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit today, Apple board member Al Gore said that the new iPhones come out in a month.

Oddly, this all makes sense. Would Apple really skip their usual Summer update to bring us just a performance bump?

This is what I think – there is going to be a model of iPhone with a performance bump, however there will also be a new iPhone 5 that is a complete do-over. 

The performance bumped iPhone 4 would most likely be called the iPhone 4S, and would sell for cheap – $99-$150 ish. Then, there would be the long-anticipated iPhone 5 for the usual price of $199-$299 with the complete reinvention thing going on.

That’s the interpretive, bright side of this quote.

However, we don’t really know Al Gore’s actual perspective. It’s possible that he could have accidentally added an S to the end of iPhone, and/or it was just amplified by the sound system. It’s also possible that he meant next iPhones as there will be one model of new iPhone, but MANY will be sold.

The one thing that couldn’t have been a mistake is the fact that he said “next month.” That means October – So for those of you who have been waiting months and months for the next iPhone, it will be coming next month – whether it has an extra model or not.

BookArc for MacBook Air

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The MacBook Air is a great computer. However, sometimes it’s nice to have a bigger display. That’s an easy task if you have an external monitor.

Okay, so now you have two displays. Cool! The only problem with this is that it can sometimes be confusing and/or distracting to deal with two displays at a time. Okay, simple enough, just close the lid to the MacBook Air and use an external keyboard and mouse. That was easy.

This would be the answer to all of our problems, however a closed computer does take up quite an amount of valuable desk real-estate. That’s why the BookArc is here to save us.

As you can tell, it is really just a stand for the Air that holds it up sideways. The stand is made of solid aluminum, and has rubber inside so that you don’t scratch or in any way damage your beloved MacBook Air. It also has a small indent in the side to manage any cables you might have, and was designed to fit the cable from an LED Cinema/Thunderbolt Display quite well.

This saves a ton of desk real estate, and can really come in handy. But the fun doesn’t stop there!

Usually laptop cooling requires some fancy advanced stand that usually doesn’t even work well. Well, here’s my personal cooling system.

Yeah, that’s it. I have the MacBook Air and a desk fan pointed at the bottom. This will keep your Mac nice and cool, so you won’t have to worry about heating issues ever again. Nifty!

The BookArc is a simple, elegant stand that serves its purpose quite nicely. If this stand were any more, it would be too complicated and much less attractive. It saves you a ton of desk real estate, and at the same time you can cool down your computer!

The BookArc is available for all MacBooks, and the pricing is respective of that. The BookArc for MacBook Air is available for $40, and you can even pick one up right at your local Apple Store! Click here to go to the Twelve South site and get one for yourself.

MacBook Air

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As you may have read in a previous post, my beloved MacBook of three years has finally bit the dust. That MacBook treated me well, and with an SSD and upgraded RAM it was able to work wonders.

Now, however, it is time to move on. And as you may be able to tell by the title, I have decided to continue my Mac collection with the newfangled MacBook Air.

Which one did you get?

One of the big reasons I wanted the MacBook Air was because of its portability and the offering of an 11 inch version. Due to this, I got the 11 inch MacBook Air with a 1.8 ghz Core i7, 256GB flash storage, and 4GB of ram.

I can hear a lot of you saying “Isn’t 11 inches a little small?” Why yes, it is. However, when I’m at home, I have an LED Cinema Display to hook it up to – no lack of pixels over here.

Design

The design of the MacBook Air does NOT fail to amaze. It feels so thin and light in your hands, but at the same time it feels incredibly solid. Because it’s a “unibody” MacBook, it was manufactured from one single piece of aluminum – it’s strong. Tapering from 0.68 inches down to 0.11 inches, you can bet your bank account it’s thin. Thanks to this, I can finally accomplish my dream of slipping my computer into a manilla envelope. The one problem with this pencil-thin design, however, is that on the whole computer you get a total of five ports. On the left side, we have a MagSafe power adapter, USB port, and microphone/headphone jack. On the right side we have a thunderbolt port and a USB port. Sorry, disc lovers!

Upon opening the computer, you get some more goodies.

The first thing you’ll notice is the screen. It’s bright and, well, beautiful. It packs a very nice DPI, featuring a 1366 by 768 resolution squeezed into 11.6 inches of glossy glory.

Next, you’ll notice the keyboard. The keyboard is full-size, featuring every key you’ll find on that thick MacBook Pro. In addition to being full-size, the keyboard is also backlit – a feature that was definitely missed on the previous version of MacBook Air.

The next thing you’ll notice is the giant trackpad. This trackpad resembles that of the MacBook Pro, although on the 11 inch version of the MacBook Air it’s a tiny bit thinner. The glass surface is a cinch to move your fingers across, and is extremely responsive to say the least.

Last and, well, least, would be the FaceTime camera embedded in the bezel of the screen. Apple decided not to put in one of the new FaceTime HD cameras, and will probably bring it back in the next version of the MacBook Air. Nonetheless, it’s still a standard functional webcam that is definitely a good addition.

Performance

In addition to being quite the looker, it gets a high score in the area of performance as well. As far as processing goes, the 1.8ghz hyper threaded dual-core i7 works wonders. The 256GB SSD performs at ~250mbps Read/Write speeds. The 4GB of RAM is sufficient.

For comparison, I’ll test the performance of the Air versus a pro using Geekbench. I first ran it on my mother’s MacBook Pro (Late 2009), which features an intel Core 2 Duo and 8GB of ram. It scored a Geekbench score of 3002. Not bad.

Then I ran it on the Air. It scored a whopping 5200 – which is a 70% increase from the pro, in 30% of the space.

The one setback of the Air’s performance would be graphics. It’s running an Intel HD 3000 chip, which is integrated so it doesn’t boast the same performance that you might get with an nvidia card. Although it might not be on par with an nvidia, it’s still a perfectly good graphics card nonetheless.

Watch out!

If you’re thinking of buying one of these, there’s one thing that you might be at risk of. The SSDs in the Airs are provided both from Toshiba and Samsung. This would be no problem, however the Toshiba SSDs are about 100MBPS less than the Samsungs. Yeah, that’s a big difference.

Here’s a video to find out if your Air boasts a samsung or a toshiba:

Conclusion

The MacBook Air combines the two most wanted/needed components of a notebook computer: power and portability. The powerful processors and fast memory give it some meaty specs, and then the 0.68 to 0.11 inch body makes it a lean, mean, working machine. I definitely recommend this computer to everyone, whether you’re a professional video producer or an under-appreciated artist living in a college dorm.

Apple MacBook Air Homepage

Goodbye, White MacBook!

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Apple recently announced a refresh to the MacBook Air line which includes a much faster processor, bringing it up to par with other more-powerful machines. I didn’t think of it as much – MacBook Air is less slow and more go. This means that instead of being a shiny piece of cutlery, it can now actually be used for real life applications.

But what Apple didn’t make obvious is that they have completely eliminated the white MacBook from the line of their computers. Completely.

It’s gone.

Not a trace of polycarbonate shells anywhere.

This means that the MacBook Air is now the entry-level MacBook, and it features a faster processor and better graphics card while only taking up half of the space – for the same price. Sounds pretty good, right?

However there’s a downside: for the entry-level Macbook Air, you only get half as much storage as you would for the now eliminated entry-level white MacBook. The entry-level white MacBook came with a 160GB internal HDD standard, but the identically-priced entry-level MacBook Air comes with a mere 64GB of Solid State Storage. Solid State does have a benefit over normal HDDs in that they boast much faster read and write speeds, however media junkies will have to pay a bit more to get the space that their data craves in the MacBook Air.

I’m afraid this marks the end of the MacBook in general. Now there are only two notebook lines from Apple, both of which have a three letter word stuck to the end (Pro and Air). This also means that we are unibody-only; you will now be seeing VERY little plastic in the Apple stores in general (including the fake ones in china).

The MacBook had a great run and attracted TONS of sales – but with everyone investing their money in more updated and capable aluminum MacBooks, the original MacBook simply had to go.

Magic Trackpad Getting Jumpy? Here’s a Weird Fix

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As you may know, Lion recently came out. Lion relies heavily on multi-touch gestures to be taken full advantage of. So I decided to break out the magic trackpad and try it out.

I’ve had many problems with the magic trackpad recently, mostly with it jumping around the screen a lot – I would touch it, and suddenly it would be on the other side of the screen. This time was no exception.

So why does my trackpad keep doing this? I’ve replaced the batteries, cleaned it off, and even tried someone else’s.

After a bit of research, I finally found the problem:

Time Machine.

I don’t know why, but after I read this I noticed that Time Machine was backing up. Hmm…. I stopped the backup and Voilla, the trackpad is back to its normal, behaving self.

This is going to get in the way, considering that Time Machine likes to back up every hour; make sure you keep an extra USB mouse on hand just in case.

To tell you the truth, I have absolutely NO idea why Time machine causes a problem with the trackpad. Time Machine connects over WiFi, and the Trackpad connects over Bluetooth. They’re totally seperate antennaes – why are they interfering with each other?

Although there is no explanation to this solution, it’s still a solution. So remember – if your trackpad is acting up, check to see if Time Machine is backing up. (HEY THAT RHYMES!)