Wednesday, October 30, 2013

How Secured is Your Google Account?

If you have been using Google account as your personal email provider, then you must have enjoyed every feature it offers. And when we are talking about enjoyment, you probably have loaded it up with personal stuff like pictures, videos, messages, files and the likes—which by the way are not supposed to be disclosed to the masses. Not to mention, your Google account serves as the gatekeeper to your Google+ account, Google drive (storage), email, Youtube channel, and you name it. It caters to your needs; it caters to your life.

And so, with that being said, wouldn’t you put an extra effort just to keep every bit and piece of your Google account secured and protected from all the impending hacks? With all those information you load on the internet, you might not know what lies ahead. Someone may steal your information and your money; someone may steal even your life. So before anything else, it’s a must to add an extra layer of protection to your account rather than just keeping your Google’s credentials to yourself. More often than not, those hackers can be so eager to hack your account that they can get your account’s credentials in as easy ABC and 123.

There’s no other way to say this but to protect your account using the Two-factor authentication. Remember when I said that you should put an extra effort? That’s why it is so-named as what it is because you are adding an extra effort upon logging in to your account. Rather than just keying-in your username and password, you will then be asked to input a verification code—like I said, extra layer.

Is that it, you ask? Well for all you know, this verification is only single-use. That being said, you can only use one unique code at a time just for you to access the account. And you can get these verification codes via text messages or through an authenticator app straight to your smartphone. It’s pretty neat, I say. So, if you are interested in doubling the security of your Google account, follow this quick guide to set it up:

First off, you must log in to your respective account using your account’s credentials to setup the two-factor authentication—or the so-called two-step verification. Once you’ve accessed your account, look for your profile picture at the upper right corner, click it, and select Account to load the page or your account settings. Now, if you don’t see your picture, perhaps you haven’t uploaded any picture yet. You will see a generic silhouette rather than your picture. And just do the previous steps and continue.

From the Accounts Settings page, select the Security from the list on the left and click the Edit link corresponding to 2-step verification once the page has loaded. Google then will show you a brief overview on what to expect with the two-factor authentication. Hit the Start setup and you’re ready to keep the bad guys out of your account by using both your password and your phone—as what Google said.

So, since it said “and your phone,” you’ll probably need to associate your mobile phone number to your account. If you haven’t associated it yet, Google will prompt you to enter your phone number. Just select your country from the drop-down list, enter your number, and then choose how you want your security codes to be received—either via text messages or through the authenticator app. Once you’ve filled all what is needed, Google will send you a test code to verify that you own the number. Key them in, and verify. Good thing two-factor authentication won’t pester you every now and then just to enter your credentials and the verification codes every log in. When it’s already familiar with your browser, you can log in to your account right off the bat. This is more applicable to web browsers, though. And a friendly advice: you might need to take your portable chargers at all times with you so you could access your account anytime, anywhere.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Apple’s Greatest Strength Appears to Be Its App Store

The 22nd of October event was marked the day when Apple has more than 1 million apps in its App Store. This breakthrough was made known when Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the app count already reached 7 figures. In addition, Cook said that the store has seen over 60 billion app downloads from the day it was conceived.

Although Android accounts to almost 80% of the mobile platform share, still, Apple’s App Store manages to be at the same level with Google’s Play Store. Why is this, taking into consideration the major discrepancy in the number of users per mobile platform? There’s certainly an explanation to this. You see, Android is being used by multiple brands of smartphone and tablet manufacturing companies to run their devices. As a result, this has posed a drawback to the virtually ubiquitous, globally popular mobile platform.

Despite Apple’s regressing figures in the global smartphone market share, which only accounts to 13.2% of the global market share, we have to take into account that devices themselves are only one thing. There are still other entities and factors that contribute to the success of one tech company. And with Apple, its priority in strengthening and widening its app ecosystem becomes its greatest strength in maintaining a fairly decent smartphone market share.

Given the figures for Apple and Google, we are made to believe that app developers are putting their center of attention to the operating system that is used by the majority of handheld devices all over the world. This outlook is but reasonable, of course. Who wouldn’t want to reach out to the bigger clientele anyway? Surprisingly, however, it’s just not frequently the case. App developers initially focus their efforts in releasing their brainchildren into Apple’s App Store rather than with Google’s Play Store.

Why so? Well, one explanation would be that the market share in the U.S. is quite an impressive figure. With 43.4% of smartphones being used by Americans having the brand Apple plus the fact that of all people in the world, Americans are more willing to spend money for apps, app-developing companies, which in fact are mostly based in the U.S., consider this as a lucrative market. This subsequently motivates mobile advertisers to subscribe and pay app developers to target the eyeballs of American consumers. And this trend therefore makes a more dynamic and economically-sound business for faster yields for the return on investment.

But of all factors that app developers consider, probably the most compelling would be the ease in developing an app for a specific mobile platform. Unlike Android being segmented, the iOS is solely used by iDevices. The people behind the apps that we enjoy find it easier and cheaper to develop an app that focuses on just few devices. The cost of development is significantly lower in making an app for iOS than for Android. And this is what makes Apple’s App Store a better virtual bazaar that the American tech giant is very proud of.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Don’t Spoil the Surprise...Too Late!

It’s quite frustrating to not know what’s going on about something you really want to be a part of. May it be a party or the last episode of your favourite television series, you just can’t miss out on anything that got you hooked! Now be the person on the other end of the line. What will you feel if the things you keep to yourself are revealed all of a sudden to a certain number of people when the timing is not just right? It’s no longer frustration you’ll feel but rather depression. You’ve waited and waited, preparing for everything and just when you’re about to jump into the waters, you were pushed deeper than expected.

This same feeling is worse for huge companies, technologically-inclined in particular, to have their products revealed before the designated launching. Which of the following tech giants will you be glad to have their secrets laid out to the public?

Sony Xperia Z1 Mini

We’ve enjoyed blanching our eyes upon Sony’s launch of its latest flagship smartphone, now it’s time to turn our attention to its smaller partner, the Xperia Z1 Mini. It is practically the same edition but with only a 4.3-inch screen with 720p resolution. Formally, it shall be called “Xperia Z1 f” that is set to run on 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, the same processing power incorporated to Xperia Z and the soon-to-be released Google Nexus 5.

Other features encompass 2GB RAM, 2, 300mAh battery, both waterproof and dust resistant, a 16GB internal storage, will have the Jelly Bean operating system running and a 64GB microSD card support.

Nokia’s Guru

No one predicted this will happen, or maybe they have, it only took a matter of time. Right off the shelves of leaked photos is Nokia’s latest version of a digital audio player which is rumoured to be called “Guru”. 

Before it reached the news, Nokia’s Lumia 1520 and 2520 have already gone under the knife as a certain informant exposed their production the last time. Now we have the Guru, a digital audio device that looks a lot like Apple’s iPod Shuffle. For starters, both devices are square-shaped with all the function buttons distributed around its body. No one will deny how much they look alike. Their only difference is the Guru’s NFC capability that will allow easy pairing to any other device that is NFC-capable. In addition to the NFC, a microUSB and/or sync port is integrated. If you look at it from afar, you’ll think it’s simply a Bluetooth-enabled device with the assistance of  mobile earphones but isn’t. We’ll find out soon enough.

BlackBerry C-Series

Still fighting for survival in the smartphone market, BlackBerry will soon flaunt their C-Series with the ‘C’ standing for ‘CafÄ—’. As with the Z10, smartphone codenamed Americano will come out with the same 4.2-inch screen with 1280x720p resolution, 4G LTE connectivity, and will own a quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 CPU. In addition, it will be ruled by BlackBerry’s latest operating system, BlackBerry 10.2.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Trend Appears to Be Towards Bigger Smartphones

Each and every smartphone on the market has its own set and degree of uniqueness. Some may boast a 41-megapixel camera to capture exceptional photos as with the Nokia Lumia 1020, while others had managed to come up with the True Tone flash to yield natural-looking images as with the iPhone 5s. And in the nature of today’s mobile market, the list goes on. However, there is one feature that is regarded as the main determinant in deciding what brand and model of smartphone to get hold of, and that feature is the size of the display.

Preferences vary in everything, but as it appears, majority of the populace are into smartphones with a larger screen. And as most of us are aware, the need for convergence is the top priority in every person’s digital lifestyle. Nowadays, people would rather have a single handheld device that is capable of everything than to have a number of gadgets that function independently. So, the answer to this unyielding demand aside from the powerful specs integrated in every device lies with a bigger display. Yes, the bigger, the better. And this is so true in the competitive world of smartphones.

Over the past couple of years, the size of the average smartphone has increased dramatically to the point where a neologism in the name of phablets has to be invented just to differentiate the small ones from the big ones. Furthermore, with the rising number of big smartphones being available on the market, the word “mini” has to be added to smartphone models smaller than their original-size counterparts. This practice is for mobile manufacturers to cater to both clienteles, who have a varying preference in terms of display size.

As it turns out, the demographic of Android patrons have little interest in smaller smartphones. This is evidenced by the sluggish sales of handsets like the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini as compared to the Galaxy S4. And this case has roused the consciousness tech companies to revisit their strategies.

According to a report from Digitimes, smartphone manufacturers like Samsung, HTC, Sony, and ZTE have found little success with their respective mini handsets. The report indicates that the mere presence of the larger phones poses a threat to their smaller next-of-kin, although the tinier phones can show more promising results in theory. In a nutshell, the sales of the handsets with the word “mini” on them has been very disappointing.

And what would be our take on this? You see, with Apple, even though its latest flagship phone, the iPhone 5s, has but a 4-inch screen, it still continues to sell so damn fast. But for Android phones, a 4 incher wouldn’t have garnered sales as big as that. The most plausible explanation to this phenomenon is the expanded choice of handsets that are Android-powered and the mindset of people that more is literally more. If you were to choose between a big and a small device, what will you get? Tell me.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tips to Unfreeze Your Frozen Phone

Your Android or iOS phone is just like a computer. Evidently, given the fact that it runs with an operating system; only as mobile version one. Mobile phones run like a computer now since you can pretty much do things with it that you normally do with your desktop or laptop.

On a lighter note, have you experienced while you are using your desktop, it crashes because a lot of software applications are being used simultaneously? What do you do then, force shutdown? And since smartphones are like computers, these nifty handsets are not exempted from the wrath of screen crashes. I bet you have already experienced that. If your phone crashes more often than not, then might as well try these tips to unfreeze your phone’s screen:

Unfreezing a Stuck Android Phone

Force an app to stop:

If the app you are using hung up, then you need to force-close the app. To do so, go to the Settings, and then tap “Applications.” From there, toggle the “Managing Applications” then swipe the “Running” tab. Once you’re there, look for the app you intend to close, and then force-close the app by tapping “Stop.”
Restart your phone:

If you just can’t stop swiping your phone’s LCD screen protector rendering its screen frozen, then try restarting your phone by holding down the sleep/power button for a few seconds till it asks for confirmation if you want to turn your phone off. Have you turned it off? Now, turn it on once more, and I bet it will run back to normal again.

Force your phone to restart:

What’s the difference with restarting your phone and a force-restart? Well, you don’t have to wait for confirmation. It will restart itself immediately as you press the right keys simultaneously: power button and volume-up button. If the volume-up button doesn’t work, try the volume-down button. If it still doesn’t work, you can refer to your phone’s manual.

Remove the battery:

If the tips above don’t do too much, then your last resort would likely be removing your Android phone’s battery. Not that you’ll have to buy replacement parts already, but perhaps your phone already needs to restart by removing your battery if the previous methods fail.
Well, that’s for Android phones. But you must also consider that Android phones are different from iPhones. So, here are the tricks to unfreeze the screen of your iPhone:

Unfreezing a Stuck iPhone

Force-close an app:

Like that of Android phones, iPhones can also force an app to close. To do so, tap the Home button twice to display the Multitask bar—the app switcher. From there, scroll left or right to find the frozen app. When you found it, just toss it up to close it.

Restart your phone:

If it’s not just the app that’s acting wonky but the entire system of your phone, then you should restart your phone already. Just hold the sleep button until the “slide to power off” appears, and slide your finger from left to right to turn off your phone. To turn back your phone on, press the Sleep button once again and wait for the logo to appear. Give it a minute, and then your phone will function back to normal.

Force-restart your phone:

Now, if your phone has totally frozen in which it doesn’t respond with every tap and press of buttons, then you may now need to restart your phone forcefully. Since removing the battery is not applicable for iPhone, the best way to force-restart it is to hold the Sleep button and the Home button simultaneously for a few seconds until the Apple logo shows. Your phone then will automatically restart.

There you go. Next time you experience your phone’s screen getting stuck, try these tips to get your phones functioning again.

This post entry is from Camille Young. Camille is a BSIT degree holder and a Tech Blogger who loves blogging about latest technology and gadgets that are more than meets the eye. She is currently working as an SEO writer/content marketer at Ecell Global.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Hello, Siri. Is That You?

 Who haven’t heard of Apple iPhone’s voice-activated invisible assistant named Siri since the release of iPhone 4S? Who is she? Well, Siri grants your commands as long as she can. She lets you basically use your voice to send messages, schedule meetings, place phone calls, and the list goes on.

Siri is the one you talk to underneath the LCD screen protector of your phone—specifically on iPhone 4S and up to the latest generation of iPhone. You just have to ask Siri to do things just by talking to her as she understands what you say, knows what you mean, and talks back even; talk about interactive assistant, eh? She talks to you as if she is a real person. As what was Apple had set for examples, if you asked Siri “Any good burger joints around here?” Siri knows that you are looking for burger restaurants. And she’ll reply, “I found a number of burger restaurants near you.” Since you and Siri are talking about restaurants, when you ask “Hmm. How about tacos?” she’ll remember and look for Mexican restaurants nearby. See how smart she is? Just press the button and you’re going to have someone to talk to over your smartphone in a jiffy!

She seems like a good companion, isn’t she? She could help you in almost anything you ask her as if she’s a genie saying “your wish is my command.” Of course, a genie in a smartphone would be far-fetched from reality, but can she be a real human? Apparently, Apple didn’t identify her, and people didn’t know who voices Siri. Well, not until she introduces herself alone. Introducing, the voice behind Siri: voice actor, Susan Bennett from Atlanta.

Though Apple still doesn’t confirm it, Bennett claims and confesses that she is Siri. CNN identified Bennett as the one who participated in the original recording sessions for the iPhone’s assistant, and audio-forensics experts say that her voice and Siri’s are “100%” alike. Back when she was still recording in the year 2005, Bennett didn’t have any idea that she’d be talking to over a hundred million people. She just snatched four hours out of her every day for a month just to record a heap of phrases. And that she didn’t know that it would be on iPhone until one of her friends asked if she is the one voicing Siri.

Clearly, Apple wasn’t the one who hired her to voice Siri. Bennett was recruited by a company called ScanSoft, and then she became a part of the voice-technology conglomerate called Nuance—the leader in the fields of voice recognition and text-to-speech. Then, Nuance was the one who provided the technology for Apple to make Siri possible—and there goes Bennett.

There was even video posted by The Verge that mislead viewers to believe that the voice behind Siri is Allison Dufty. Bennett just laughed at it and just answered: “I really had to weigh the importance of it for me personally. I wasn't sure that I wanted that notoriety, and I also wasn't sure where I stood legally. And so, consequently, I was very conservative about it for a long time," she said. "And then this Verge video came out ... And it seemed like everyone was clamoring to find out who the real voice behind Siri is, and so I thought, well, you know, what the heck? This is the time."

And so, she revealed herself after years of living with the secret. Hello, Siri. Is that you? Yes, it’s Susan Bennett.